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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.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Screaming Staircase

(Book 1 for Once Upon a Time)

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud.

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion;(August 26, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1423186923

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?

Description of book:  Twelve year old *ghostbusters*.

*Sigh*.. I guess this book would have worked better for RIP, however, there's plenty of fantasy fiction to the story!

I've read  Jonathan Stroud's  The Bartimaeus Trilogy, which I really liked. So, I thought I'd give this a try.

The book was very enjoyable, and I had only one problem with it.  The dialogue did not sound like "kids".  It wasn't overly "adult" but it just didn't sound age appropriate.

It is a fast read, and I think YA's will really enjoy this book.  Stroud is a good writer and has a good imagination.

Actually my problem with it might have been that I've been reading mysteries for quite a stretch now and this is the first of this kind that I've read in quite a while.  Big change to say the least!

Small Book Meme

My friend, Cath,  put up a short book meme...I haven't seen a meme in forever so I guess I'll give it a shot!

 

1. What was your favorite book during childhood?

Hmmm, not an easy question because my memory sucks!  To be honest the first books I really remember reading were Zane Grey books! (yeah cowboys, sheesh)

2.What is your favorite book now?

I'm not sure who made this meme but do they really expect ONE book title??!! Quite a number of books seem to stick with me.  The Dragon Rider of Pern series are probably at the top.  But many others I can't forget either, like Drood by Dan Simmons, and The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows, oh and my favorite Biography is called Stan and Ollie by Simon Louvish.

   

     

3. What is your favorite movie adaptation of a book?

Wow.. hard question.  Maybe, To Kill a Mockingbird. 

4. Do you prefer checking out books from the library or buying them?

Buying them. (mostly at thrift stores) I am not one for enjoying returning books, I feel the "pressure" of a time limit.

 

5. Have you ever been let down by a book that was highly recommended to you?

Not many recommendations come my way... but one I know I never read much of was The Time Travelers Wife. But it's certainly not the only book I never finished!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Once Upon a Time..

Well, well... it must be Spring because Carl, at Stainless Steel Droppings, has once again started his Once Upon a Time Challenge!

Since I go berserk if I "commit" to things I will choose to only do "The Journey". (read one book)  But I never do just one! But I enjoy it all better "uncommitted" heh.

Anyway: his rules are:

Rule #1: Have fun.

Rule #2: HAVE FUN.

Rule #3: Don’t keep the fun to yourself, share it with us, please!

Rule #4: Do not be put off by the word “challenge”. (he knows me well!)

Books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time categories. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres.

To find out more click on the link above to go to Carl's blog.

I have a number of books around here to choose from but truth be told it could be one of these, all of these, or none of these!  I could very well decide on a reread of something I love.....But I grabbed this group out for a snapshot.

They include a Weis & Hickman trilogy called Dragonships, the first book in a trilogy from Jonathan Stroud called Lockwood & Co., two books I bought at an antique place (well illustrated and translated by Mark Scott, Pat Chandor and Dave Woodward) Krystonian Adventures they come from England. I also have the first two books of Robin Hobb of the Rain Wilds Chronicles.  All pictured above. 

So.. we shall see what happens during Once Upon a Time, why don't you join in on the fun ?!!

Girl on The Cliff

Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley.

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Atria Books;(October 30, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1451655827

 

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.

This was an enjoyable read.  I always like "mysteries" with lots of family secrets !

It just seems that the books I've had lately all include a love story.  I'm not real keen on romance books but as long as they are in the background with secrets or murder surrounding it they don't seem to be to awfully "romantic" after all. A bit of a surprise at the ending which always helps.   The background story itself is doled out in increments, by Grania's mother, and small writing's by "the person telling the story" was different and I liked it.

No big horror's or murders but still a book I enjoyed.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Lewis Carroll: A Biography

Lewis Carroll: A Biography by Morton N Cohen.

Paperback: 577 pages
Publisher: Vintage (November 26, 1996)
ISBN-10: 0679745629

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

Now and then I enjoy reading biographies or autobiographies, so when I saw this book in on of those many thrift shops, looking brand spankin' new and with that great cover.. I brought it home!   But even that great cover didn't make the book any better.

Three times I was ready to give up on it...it seemed to just keep repeating itself over and over about the fact that Charles Dodgson (C.S. Lewis) had this thing for very young girls.  But when reading between the lines one can be pretty assured that he certainly had deep feelings for girls under puberty age, that nothing happened except the told stories and all the children grew up still loving him.. which they would not do if he was not anything but exceptionally kind to them.

I did learn something I never knew and that was that Dodgson when to Oxford as a Mathematician and grew in his speciality to Professor and a Don.  He met many people who also was at Oxford such as Tennyson but always he tried to make acquaintances with those who had young children.

Besides lecturing about Math (which was not easy as Dodgson had a slight stutter), he became prolific in photography.  Back then it meant he had to have his own dark room to work the negative immediately after taking a photo.

Dodgson was a very strange man. Up to the end he would rather have dinner with a 12 yr old than anyone he might know.

I am going to admit that of the 577 pages in this book I thoroughly read about 400 and then I started skimming to the end.  I wish the author mentioned things that were also happening in the world that might have had an affect on Dodgson, which was something that was neglected.   Giving a quick search on Amazon I see there are many biographies on C.S. Lewis...I don't think I am interested enough to try a different author but if you are interested, I might try one other then this one.  But then again, to someone else this one might be the best one!  (heh, glad I could help in your decision! )

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The QPB Companion to The Lord of the Rings

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

Paperback: 104 pages
Publisher: Quality Paperback Book Club;(2001)
ISBN-10: 0965307883

 

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.....

So, once again I find this little gem in a thrift store for .50 cents.   Not 100% sure of the contents I took it home anyway and read it yesterday. (very small book  104 pages)   I am not sure why it's called a "companion".  What this book is, is... Other authors of "high caliber" (such as Tolkien was : an Oxford Professor/a Don) .   All of which wrote a few pages on what they thought of Tolkien and mostly what they thought of his writing of The Lord of The Rings.

I was surprised at how many of the few that wrote for this book thought that his writing / his story, was of a high grade.  A number of them thought it nothing more than childish trash and could not understand why it stood the test of time and has done so well. 

My thoughts after reading both the good and the bad was that I wondered why they were trying to figure out what was going through Tolkien's mind as he wrote it.  ?  They all seemed to either think it trash and not give it a second thought OR they all thought they had to figure out all the "hidden messages" in the story.

Most all of the writings were of LOtR and few mentioned the Hobbit.  If it is true then the one thing I learned was it is a falsehood that Tolkien wrote the Hobbit for his son.  He just plain wrote a "child's story".

Anyway...I did find their opinions interesting.  ... and to be honest those who tore down Tolkien's writing sounded more like their own ego then anything else lol... but still.. for .50 cents, it was interesting!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Never Come Back

Never Come Back by David Bell.

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: NAL (October 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0451417518

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.
 

Ok, so I found this book at a used store and thought, "ohhh David Bell!"  I've read The Cemetery Girl and The Hiding Place and like him."!  So I took it home with me.   I sat down and began reading it a few days ago and it seemed awfully familiar.. yet the title didn't.  Had I watched a movie like this??  Read another book with a similar plot??   So I read a few more chapters, which was very easy since the chapters were all about 2 pages long! (love short chapters!) 

OK.. I finally knew I had read the book before... but do you think I could remember the curse of the crime?  "Who done it?"... nope  totally gone.  As I kept reading I knew it all... except "who done it"... ARGH!   So I just spent a few days doing a reread! *sigh*

And the reason I didn't remember the ending?... still escapes me!  It must be the very easy but very smart twists and turns in what seems to be a very simple book!   Which means.. a good author!

I totally enjoyed the reread and for anyone liking very short chapters so you can stop at almost any given moment, this book is for you!

And.. I have yet another of his (used) books on it's way to me via the used book dealers at Amazon!  That will make 4 books when I read that one!  

Lots of things going on in this book but easy to follow.  If you haven't read any David Bell's books I recommend him!

Monday, March 09, 2015

The Splendour Falls

The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley.

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (January 14, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1402258615

 

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.

"A mix of intrigue and adventure...in a style similar to that of Mary Stewart or Barbara Erskine, Kearsley does an excellent job evoking the atmosphere of Chinon with its brooding castle."—The Winnipeg Free Press

"Kearsley's action-packed mystery-romance, set in a medieval French town, shows the same deft plotting that won Kearsley the Catherine Cookson prize for Mariana."—Chatelaine

 

This is not my first book by Susanna Kearsley, nor will it probably be my last.

I have to admit I had hoped for a little more excitement in the "mystery" part of the book, but over all I still enjoyed it.  I also don't usually read book that the setting is France (vs. England/Scotland/Ireland), so strangely I felt a little "lost", I think I need to stay in Britain!

The book covers a bit of History, some very good characters, a beginning of a romance and even a few murders.  So she covers a lot of ground in 384 pages.

The non-appearance of Harry for vacation with Emily annoyed me at first, but later makes perfect sense.  Once he was in the picture I found it hard seeing the name Harry without wanting to add "Potter" after it lol.  An old persons mind (mine) can get jumbled easily! 

Anyway.. it was an enjoyable read.  Not too dark, and a good adventure.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Snow Falling on Cedars

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson.

Paperback: 460 pages
Publisher: Vintage;(September 26, 1995)
ISBN-10: 067976402X

 

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.

This book was more than I thought it would be.  To be honest I think I picked it up at a thrift shop because it mentioned World War II on the back of the book.  So it surprised me to find it was a Japanese fisherman on trial for the murder of another fisherman. 

Like some murder mysteries you might see on television it begins with part of the trial and then goes back and introduces you to the characters, their lives and how things came to be a murder trial.   During the time period this occurs WWII, Pearl Harbor happens and San Piedro Island is not exempt from "rounding up all the American Japanese" and putting them in internment camps.  After the war some of the young people come home but with war injuries.  One in particular now has a missing arm.   The main character on trial Kabuo Miyamoto goes to war and serves the United States against his own people.  But prejudices run deep.  And so the story reminds us that some things have not changed, while others have.  This includes use of language that might offend some, but it was proper to use for the story being told.

Quite a good book and reminder of things  we may choose to not think about all the time.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Winter People

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon.

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Doubleday;(February 11, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0385538499

From Booklist

*Starred Review* After a night of partying, 19-year-old Ruthie awakens to a world of impossibilities: her mother, an off-the-grid hippie who rarely leaves their Vermont farm, is missing, and Ruthie is left to care for her young sister. Ruthie desperately searches their old farmhouse for clues and uncovers a hidden compartment in her mother’s room filled with frightening artifacts: a pair of strangers’ wallets, a loaded gun, and a book entitled Visitors from the Other Side: The Secret Diary of Sara Harrison Shea. The diary reveals a 100-year-old mystery lending credence to the campfire tales about their farm, the nearby Devils’ Hand rock formation, locals who have gone missing, and her mother’s warnings that bad things happen in their woods. Ruthie begins tracking her mother with the information in the wallets and soon finds links between the diary’s horrors and her mother’s disappearance. McMahon has developed a subgenre of psychological mysteries that pit female characters with humanizing strengths and vulnerabilities against old secrets posing present dangers, forcing them to confront mystery and legend in creepily seductive settings. This mystery-horror crossover is haunting, evocative, and horrifically beautiful

When I heard about this book it sounded like a good mystery.  After all a 100 yr. old diary is found which contained a mystery!  Hey what's not to like?   However, I am not into "living dead" or "zombie"  books and this had some of the "living dead" in it.  That did not thrill me, and the fact that it covered 100 yrs was a bit confusing to me.

But... (there's always a but, right?).. the mystery was a good one and a number of twists and turns, right up to the very end,  all contributed to my not setting the book aside.  I will say, I liked it.  Not something I will read over again, but a change from my usual reading and obviously interesting and written well enough for me to read the entire book.

I think to most who don't mind a bit of living dead (and I know there are many out there) that this would be a really good read for you.

With this book it brought my count of books read in February to 7 !  Last month and this month were good reading months for me.  I doubt this will keep up but as long as I am reading something it's a good thing!

February...

10..Death of a Chimney Sweep............M.C. Beaton........(247 pgs)

11..The Pale Blue Eye...................Louis Bayard............(448 pgs)

12..The Black Tower.....................Louis Bayard............(352 pgs)

13..The River of No Return..............Bee Ridgway..........(452 pgs)

14..Touchstone..........................Laurie R King............(560 pgs)

15..Risking it All......................Ann Granger................(314 pgs)

16..The Winter People...................Jennifer McMahon...(336 pgs)

I think of the books read this month my favorite was Risking it all by Ann Granger.. however, Touchstone is right up there with it!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Risking it All

Risking it All by Ann Granger. (A Fran Varady Crime Novel)

Series: A Fran Varady Crime Novel
Hardcover: 314 pages
Publisher: Headine; First Edition edition (2001)
ISBN-10: 0747274746

Ann Granger's Fran Varady novels take us to the streets of today's London where Fran, a young woman who is constantly struggling to find employment and a place to live, rubs shoulders with friends and foes, tramps, con men, cops, shopowners - and in this case also her dying mother.
This is a shock because her mom walked out on Fran and her dad 14 years before, when Fran was 7 years old, and hadn't been heard from since. Now a sleazy PI finds Fran at her mom's request - and another shock follows when Fran gets to the hospice: Fran has a young half sister. And mom has a dying wish...
Yes, this plunges Fran into a round of encounters with strangers all over town, and a dead body on her doorstep, and worse. Except for the fact that Fran is to her residences roughly what Janet Evanovich's protagonist Stephanie Plum is to her cars (a jinx to put it mildly), this was a satisfying and interesting book.

This is my third crime novel by Ann Granger, featuring Fran Varady as the main protagonist. 

I have to say that I have enjoyed all 3 books, but I think this is my favorite of the three! 

From the beginning Ann Granger seems to tell a simple story (involving crime solving of course), using simple words, but still manages to turn tables and have surprises while reading.

I think I connected with her character of Fran Varady.  Not because I ever want to be a detective, or her so called wish to be an actor.. but because her mother left her when she was very young. (my father did the same, I don't have a single memory of him) .  Her life was not easy, neither was mine with my mother supporting 2 kids alone.  And so there are levels I feel like I know where she coming from.  These facts keep anyone rooting for her to go on and yet afraid something bad could happen.

This story would have been my dream come true, because in this book, the mother who ran out and never saw her again, found her before she died.  She got to meet her mother again.  Something I never had the chance to do with my father.  It makes me wonder at times, how some of these authors come up with their material.

Anyway... The 3 books I've read are: Rattling the Bones, Mixing with Murder, and Risking it All.   Good main character, good recurring side characters, easy reading and good stories.. can't ask for much more.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Touchstone

Touchstone by Laurie R King.

Paperback: 560 pages
Publisher: Bantam;(December 30, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0553586661

Hailed for her rich and powerful works of psychological suspense as well as her New York Times bestselling mysteries, Laurie R. King now takes us to a remote cottage in Cornwall where a gripping tale of intrigue, terrorism, and explosive passions begins with a visit to a recluse upon whom the fate of an entire nation may rest—a man code-named . . .

It’s eight years after the Great War shattered Bennett Grey’s life, leaving him with an excruciating sensitivity to the potential of human violence, and making social contact all but impossible. Once studied by British intelligence for his unique abilities, Grey has withdrawn from a rapidly changing world—until an American Bureau of Investigation agent comes to investigate for himself Grey’s potential as a weapon in a vicious new kind of warfare. Agent Harris Stuyvesant desperately needs Grey’s help entering a world where the rich and the radical exist side by side—a heady mix of the powerful and the celebrated, among whom lurks an enemy ready to strike a deadly blow at democracy on both sides of the Atlantic.
Here, among a titled family whose servants dress in whimsical costumes and whose daughter conducts an open affair with a man who wants to bring down the government, Stuyvesant finds himself dangerously seduced by one woman and—even more dangerously—falling in love with another. And as he sifts through secrets divulged and kept, he uncovers the target of a horrifying conspiracy, and wonders if he can trust his touchstone, Grey, to reveal the most dangerous player of all ….
Building to an astounding climax on an ancient English estate, Touchstone is both a harrowing thriller by a master of the genre and a thought-provoking exploration of the forces that drive history—and human destinies.

I decided to do a reread of a book I haven't read since 2007!.. that's when I received and advance reading copy of the book Touchstone by Laurie R King.  The very same author  who writes all the Mary Russell (Holmes) books!  After I read this the first time.. I saved it.  That means I knew I'd want to reread it one day... and it finally happened!  And I enjoyed it as much as the first time.  When I began the book I quickly remember it had political overtones.. yuck.. the only political books I enjoy  are not fiction!.. hmmm, but I saved the book.. so .. I continued to read.  And it wasn't long until I was hooked once again!

Although Harris Stuyvesant is the investigator, and main character,  my heart instantly went out to Bennett Grey. Not only was he heart-wrenching, he was a living time bomb waiting to explode! (there's a pun in there, but you'll have to read the book to understand it!)

Stuyvesant is an American working for the government, who travels to England to find a man he suspects has set off a number of bombs in America, one of them all but killed his brother, and this was a personal matter. He has come at a turbulent time in England with miners striking and Unions ready to wage war.

He is led to a man named Major Aldous Carstairs.. whom you will dislike immediately! And not without reason!.. With Carstairs "help" he is introduced to Bennett Grey (who will steal your heart in one way or another). With Grey's help Stuyvesant believes he can infiltrate the group of people surrounding a man named Brunson, who he believes is the bomber. Grey introduces him to his sister Sarah, (a noticed beauty to Harris), who in turn introduces him to Laura Hurleigh, daughter of a Duke, mistress to Brunsen, and a very highly intelligent and political person herself.

I can't begin to tell you all the different turns this story takes! The homework Laurie King must have done to describe every moment in England and every detail of the House of Hurleigh must have been horrendous, because, trust me on this.. you think you are there!

I won't even mention the twists and turns that happen at the end of this book! I highly doubt you will figure it out along the way! If you are even remotely interested in suspense thrillers, this book is for you!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The River of No Return

The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway.

Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Plume;(March 25, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0142180831

From Booklist

In her stellar debut, Ridgeway manages the permutations of the time-travel trope with originality and aplomb. Lord Nick Falcott was an early nineteenth-century aristocrat, until he unexpectedly “jumped” into the twenty-first century while engaged in bloody battle. He then discovers the powerful, secret Guild that keeps a watchful eye on time shenanigans while it shepherds its bewildered new members through their futuristic lives. Nick is prepared to live in contemporary ease in America and willfully ignore the echoes of his past, but the Guild has other plans for him. They send him back to 1815 England to discover the nefarious plans of a shadowy nemesis who seeks a talisman that controls time. Also in 1815 exists Julia Percy, whose grandfather played with time and managed to pass on his legacy to Julia without her being completely aware of it. The juxtaposition between rather foppish yet deeply wounded Nick and spunky, highly intelligent Julia keeps the pages turning, while the entire premise and plot capture unwavering attention. Recommend this engaging, nuanced read to fans of A Discovery of Witches (2011) and Regency romances. --Julie Trevelyan

Hmmm, well.. I have to say I am not fond of "time travel" books.  Having said that I was glad this was more "about being able to" rather than each chapter being in a different time!  Ninety percent of the book was kept in the 1815 time period. (which, of course, suits me just fine!)

Time travel to me is sci-fi and as much as I am a sci-fi fan of movies,  I am not a fan of reading it. (unless it's kept to a minimum).  So I am not sure what it was that kept me reading this book.. up and to 100 pages I was thinking that this book would not be read by me, but something made me wonder where it was going, I guess, and so I read on.

There was also a romance in the story.. though not much was done with it until the last quarter of the book. (once again, that was fine with me). 

I will say that the second half of the book moved faster and decidedly was more interesting. (regardless of the romance).  I did like the character of Lord  Nick.  An important someone in his time, but not nearly as important in the future time. I think his maturing and way of thinking of people in general (common vs aristocrat ) and of woman and their part in the world when he returned to 1815, gave good thought to his character.

I liked the book.  Not one that I'd read a second time.. and it was "different" for me.  But it didn't change my mind about liking to read time travel stories!

So I hope the Amazon review tells you enough to know if it is something you might want to read !  There were other reviews on the page if you think you want to know more about the book.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Black Tower

The Black Tower by Louis Bayard.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (August 26, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0061173509

 

Book Description:

Vidocq! Master of disguise and chief of a newly created plainclothes police force, Vidocq is a man whose name sends terror rippling through the Parisian underworld of 1818—and the inconsequential life of Hector Carpentier is violently shaken when Vidocq storms into it. A former medical student living in his mother's Latin Quarter boardinghouse, Hector finds himself dragged into a dangerous mystery surrounding the fate of the dauphin, the ten-year-old son of King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette presumed to have suffered a cruel death years earlier in Paris's dreaded Temple. But the truth of what happened may be even more shocking—and it will fall to an aimless young man and the most feared detective in Paris to see justice done for a frightened little boy in a black tower . . . no matter what the cost.

This is my 3rd book by Louis Bayard.  And I have enjoyed all three of them!  A lot of historical History has gone into his books: The Tower, The Pale Blue Eye and Mr. Timothy.

This one begins with a murder.  In the dead man's hand is a note that simply states a name, Dr. Carpentier.  It turns out Dr Carpentier does not know this murdered man, but subsequently is dragged along by the detective, Vidocq, while he continues to track down the murderer.

Bayard takes us back to the time of King Louis XVI, and asks what happened to the apparent heir to the throne.   Supposedly he was held in a tower until his death.  Or was he?  How was Carpentier involved in this?  Was the boy dead or alive?  And how could they tell if what they suspect is true or not?

Toss in another murder or two, question who you trust or don't trust and Bayard has given us yet another very good historical fiction book to read!

I know I don't write much of a review, I leave that to the reviews from Amazon, but what I can say is that it was an easy read, and an interesting read.  It kept me picking it up each time I sat down and to me... that's an enjoyable read!

Friday, February 06, 2015

The Pale Blue Eye

The Pale Blue Eye by Louis Bayard.

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks;(June 12, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0060733985

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Bayard follows Mr. Timothy (2003), which brilliantly imagined the adult life of Dickens's Tiny Tim, with another tour-de-force, an intense and gripping novel set during Edgar Allan Poe's brief time as a West Point cadet. In 1830, retired New York City detective Gus Landor is living a quiet life at his Hudson Valley cottage, tormented by an unspecified personal sorrow, when Superintendent Thayer summons him to West Point to investigate the hanging and subsequent mutilation of a cadet. Poe aids Landor by serving as an inside source into the closed world of the academy, though Poe's personal involvement with a suspect's sister complicates their work. But the pair find themselves helpless to prevent further outrages; the removal of the victims' hearts suggests that a satanic cult might be at work. This beautifully crafted thriller stands head and shoulders above other recent efforts to fictionalize Poe.

This is my second book by Louis Bayard.  The other I read by him is called Mr. Timothy.

I have to say I surprised myself by how quickly I read this book.  Mainly because the print was on the small side! Sheer horror for me!

The Pale Blue Eye managed to grab me right away.  I liked the way the author put the history of the West Point Academy into the book, circa 1830.  He researched enough to know that Edgar Allan Poe truly did go to West Point for a time and so incorporated as the cadet he chooses to help him solve the crime.

Small hints are dropped here and there but I have to admit that I could not figure out who the murder was!  And then at the end when the whole story comes out it takes yet another twist  which you really don't have a clue is coming!

I liked this book a lot, as I also had enjoyed his book of Mr Timothy, which is about the adult "Tiny Tim" of Christmas Carole fame.

The retired detective, Gus Landor, was a very good character.  You don't actually know much about him but he is such a thorough detective that you find his work more intriguing than he is! (rare for me, I am character driven).   As for Poe, I will only say that one of his more famous poems comes to mind over and over again as you read this book.. but you will have to read it for yourself and see if you come up with the same (thought) poem.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Books Read in January

Well, for me, the numbers are outstanding!

However (here it comes)... the first book I actually read in December and just hadn't posted it yet. (now there are 8)  Of the 8 books left only 3 are over 400 pages so the others were considerably shorter.

January...

1 ..The Hills is Lonely................Lillian Beckwith..........(271 pgs)

2 ..A Fatal Likeness...................Lynn Shepherd..........(363 pgs)

3 ..The Bedlam Detective...............Stephen Gallagher...(305 pgs)

4 ..In the Garden of Beasts............Erik Larson.............(448 pgs)

5 ..Rattling the Bones.................Ann Granger.............(320 pgs)

6 ..The Misbegotten....................Katherine Webb.......(544 pgs)

7 ..What Angels Fear...................C.S. Harris...............(341 pgs)

8 ..The Complaints.....................Ian Rankin...............(480 pgs)

9 ..Mixing With Murder.................Ann Granger...........(352 pgs)

I totally expect February to drop drastically. As I look around they are all much larger books and most are biographies or "real life" which don't keep me reading as often as I am not as anxious to see "what's happened next?"..

Only one book of the 9 was not fiction and that was "In the Garden of Beasts". About the US Ambassador sent to live in Germany just at the time Hitler begins his rise.

I have to say I enjoyed all the books for January. I found two new authors: Ann Granger, who has some good characters that I enjoyed, and thanks to Cath, I found Lillian Beckwith. 

For the first book in February (began in January) it was a bust.  I read 85 pages and closed the book and picked up another!  So reading in 2015 is off and running!

Death of a Chimney Sweep

Death of a Chimney Sweep by M.C. Beaton.

Hardcover. 248 pages
Publisher: Hardcover (December 25, 2011)
ASIN: B0062CU15O

 

Overview

In the south of Scotland, residents get their chimneys vacuum-cleaned. But in the isolated villages in the very north of Scotland, the villagers rely on the services of the itinerant sweep, Pete Ray, and his old-fashioned brushes. Pete is always able to find work in the Scottish highlands, until one day when Police Constable Hamish Macbeth notices blood dripping onto the floor of a villager's fireplace, and a dead body stuffed inside the chimney. The entire town of Lochdubh is certain Pete is the culprit, but Hamish doesn't believe that the affable chimney sweep is capable of committing murder. Then Pete's body is found on the Scottish moors, and the mystery deepens. Once again, it's up to Hamish to discover who's responsible for the dirty deed—and this time, the murderer may be closer than he realizes.

This is a small , quick read.  Although it bounced around nicely, not letting on "who done it".. being a small book it also didn't really let you get to know the characters all that well.  I am all about the characters, so it was a bit lacking for me.  Being such a small book things happen rather quickly!  Yet in other books some things are drawn out more then needed... not sure which is more enjoyable!

But there were murders to be solved and lately that seems to keep me reading most any book!  I have since found that there are a whole series of these books and so I am guessing that eventually getting to know the characters happens sooner or later!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Books (Now, there's a surprising title from moi!)

My friend Dorothy and I ran an errand yesterday and true to form we had (had, mind you!) to go to at least one Thrift Store and look through boxes of books.  Dorothy found numerous books (25 cents for paperbacks, 50 cents for hardbacks) but since I have so many books at home I have become (somewhat) reluctant to pick up most of what I see so that "one day I will get to it".. heh.

Anyway  I did get 3 books... and one came in the mail. (hanging head in shame)..... And once again I bought two of the fifty cent books not know if I will EVER read them!...but.. in fairness... they were only 50 cents each!  Who know?! A miracle might happen!!!   Here is what I scrounged in the huge boxes to find..........................

Dreamcatcher by Stephen King.   Also, Death of a Chimney Sweep by M.C. Beaton. One other from the fifty cent pile is below: Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain....however this is a 1912 copywrite.

The Other book:  Books to Die For, edited by John Connelly & Declan Burke, I bought used from Amazon.  I can blame Cath for that one! (The blame is all about my "sis", about my sis, about my sis.... lol)

Amazon: Books to Die For....

The world’s greatest mystery writers on the world’s greatest mystery novels:
Michael Connelly on The Little Sister . . .
Kathy Reichs on The Silence of the Lambs . . .
Mark Billingham on The Maltese Falcon . . .
Ian Rankin on I Was Dora Suarez . . .
With so many mystery novels to choose among, and so many new titles appearing each year, where should a reader start? What are the classics of the genre? Which are the hidden gems?
In the most ambitious anthology of its kind yet attempted, the world’s leading mystery writers have come together to champion the greatest mystery novels ever written. In a series of personal essays that often reveal as much about the authors and their own work as they do about the books that they love, 119 authors from 20 countries have created a guide that will be indispensable for generations of readers and writers. From Agatha Christie to Lee Child, from Edgar Allan Poe to P. D. James, from Sherlock Holmes to Hannibal Lecter and Philip Marlowe to Lord Peter Wimsey, Books to Die For brings together the cream of the mystery world for a feast of reading pleasure, a treasure trove for those new to the genre and for those who believe that there is nothing new left to discover. This is the one essential book for every reader who has ever finished a mystery novel and thought . . .
I want more!

I don't really read Stephen King.. I took this for his cover, it's pristine condition and the price! lol

Below is the 1912 copywrite edition of Huckleberry Finn..

  This book plate was inside the cover. I can only think it must be someone who owned the book at one time, and found a book plate that would look as old as the book!

Below are two Illo's that are in the book.

If anyone I know would like this old version let me know! ( it would be a freebee!) I just couldn't leave it in the thrift store being tossed around like garbage.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mixing With Murder

Mixing With Murder by Ann Granger.

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Headline Book Publishing (October 3, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0755320417

 

 

By Beverley Strong

Semi amateur PI and sometime actor, Fran Varady, receives a summons from night club owner and heavy man, Mickey Allerton, who wishes her to locate one of his pole dancers, Lisa, who has walked off the job and vanished, leaving him strangely distraught. Fran reluctantly accepts the commission, only because Mickey is holding her dog as hostage until the job is done, and travels to Oxford, where it's thought that Lisa may be staying with her parents. Mickey has booked Fran into a B and B, owned by Beryl, one of his former employees, where she joins a curiously disparate group of residents which includes a Croatian woman who is working for Beryl as a chambermaid, in order to improve her English. Fran locates Lisa who agrees to meet her by the river, but as Fran waits for her arrival, the body of another Croatian, Ivo, the doorman at Mickeys' club, floats to the bank of the river. Understandably alarmed, Fran conceals her knowledge of his identity from the police, much to the alarm of her buddy, Ganesh, with whom she has kept in touch by means of his mobile phone which she has borrowed. As Frans' investigation progresses, Lisa proves to be very far from the innocent victim she has portayed herself to be to both her parents and to Mickey, and lots of action occurs before the satisfactory conclusion of Frans' case.

This is my second Ann Granger book "starring" Fran Varady.  She reminds me of ... well,  me.  If she didn't have bad luck she'd have no luck at all! lol

Actually, I do like her character, and I do like Ann Granger's writing.  It's basic.  It's simple.  And at the same time she can make you like her characters and story enough to keep reading.  You can't ask for much more!  I think there is one more Fran Varady used book at Amazon that I will send for eventually,because she makes you want to know more about her characters.

This book was right for me , right now.  Not too complicated and yet interesting enough to make me keep picking up the book.

There's not much I can say because the Amazon review pretty much says the whole story!

I do look forward to another of her books.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Complaints

The Complaints by Ian Rankin.

Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Reagan Arthur / Back Bay Books(November 2, 2011)
ISBN-10: 031607876X

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In the wake of Exit Music (2008), the concluding volume in his celebrated John Rebus series,Rankin has picked a most unlikely new hero. Edinburgh cop Malcolm Fox works for “the Complaints,” the despised internal-affairs division whose job it is to investigate other cops. Succeeding the Rebus novels, starring the quintessential maverick copper, with a series built around a cop-hunting cop seems akin to J. K. Rowling following Harry Potter with seven extra-thick novels about a classroom tattletale. And, yet, Rankin pulls it off, making Fox the fall guy in an elaborate police conspiracy and causing him to join forces with a detective under suspicion of peddling child porn. The strange-bedfellows angle drives the interpersonal dynamics here—and augurs well for future installments—as Fox, working off the books, investigates the murder of someone very close to home and attempts to turn the frame-up on its end. Some crime writers keep writing the same series with different characters, but Rankin deserves credit for going another way altogether. Fox is a good and quiet citizen compared to Rebus (he doesn’t drink and listens to birdsong on the radio, not classic rock), but Rankin doesn’t hold any of that against his new hero, proving that you can build complex, highly textured, series-worthy characters from the most unlikely of raw materials.

This is my first Ian Rankin book.  From what I understand he's very popular in England and seems to be up in the "rankings" now in America.

However, this was not his most popular character of Rebus, but the book was a good read anyway. I think I tend towards liking Historical mysteries better or stories from England, Scotland and Ireland from back in the 1800's.  So again I say, this was an enjoyable book, but for me not top of the list.   It would be more to the liking of those who enjoy "basic" crime stories like a series on television.   (not including Mysteries of Laura or Forever!)

Briefly I will say that Malcolm Fox is a detective in the "Complaints Dept." which is to find "dirty cops" and the proof that they are indeed needing to be investigated. 

It was a good enough read that if I come across other Ian Rankin books at my thrift stores I would certainly pick them up.  I do have one other of his books called Exit Music which the back of the books states that it is Rebus's last case before "retirement""... guess I should wait and see if I can find other Rebus books before I read about him retiring huh?!

Anyway It was a quick read, a book in which you can get side tracked and have no problem picking up where you left off even if it weren't the beginning of a new chapter.

If you come across one of Ian Rankin's books... give it a try!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What Angels Fear

What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris.

Hardcover: 341 pages
Publisher: New American Library(November 1, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0451216695

 

From Publishers Weekly

Set in England in 1811, Harris's riveting debut delivers a powerful blend of political intrigue and suspense. When Sebastian Alistair St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is accused of the rape and murder of actress Rachel York, mistress to various members of Spencer Perceval's wobbly Tory cabinet, Sebastian goes "on the lam," in the words of young Tom, his adopted companion and faithful servant, and must spend frantic days in clever disguises chasing "across London and back." Uncanny powers of sight and hearing help him to identify several suspects, including Hugh Gordon, Rachel's fellow actor and ex-lover; shadowy French émigré Leo Pierrepoint; and even his own wayward nephew, Bayard Wilcox, who had been stalking the victim for weeks. Also implicated is portrait painter Giorgio Donatelli, for whom Rachel often posed nude, whose current patron, Lord Fairchild, is expected to be the next prime minister. Waiting in the wings to rule over this gathering chaos is dissolute Prince George (aka Prinny), soon to become regent for his incompetent father, George III. Backed by a blurb from Stephanie Barron, this fresh, fast-paced historical is sure to be a hit.

Historical Fiction, involving murder, and taking place in England...3 things I really like.

Knowing much less about Englands "mad king" and Vicounts, Lords and such, I have to admit, for me, this was a touch more political then I generally care for.  This is not to say I didn't like the book, because I did.  And maybe it was how it was written.  I wanted to know all the usually questions in a mystery but I found that I didn't rush back to it like some books.  

I did like the main character, Sebastian Alistair St. Cyr , and the story did keep you thinking about "who done it"... and so I still might try another book by Harris knowing he will use the same character.  At the moment I am not buying many books as I haven't been to thrift shops, and the 4.00 shipping from amazon sometimes gets me down... which is good because I think I've actually made a small dent in my TBR mountain! (for now).

 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

January 20th: Birth Day of DeForest Kelley

A small tribute in photo's.

The first 2 photo's are of DeForest and Carolyn at the North Shore Animal League.  One of their favorite charities.  There is a Fund set up at North Shore in DeForest and Carolyn's name.

Below is a favorite poster of mine.  The Artist is Drew Struzan.  An artist who actually caught him right.

..close up of his face .

Next are 2 photo's I took of DeForest when he did conventions.

The next picture is one Carolyn took that De posed for next to a silly Wanted Poster I had made up for him for his birthday.  He enjoyed his cowboy years.

Next are 3 personal photo's

And Lastly a photo I took of DeForest when he received his star on the Walk of Fame.

His Birthday is never forgotten.  I don't always make many posts about De or Carolyn.. just because my heart has never healed, and never will.  Some days I can look at photo's of them.. someday's I cannot.   This year I wanted to "see him", and remember all the happiness they brought me.

Happy  95th Birthday De!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Misbegotten

The Misbegotten by Katherine Webb.

Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) (August 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1409131467

Amazon Review:

Dark truths. Beautiful lies. Bath, England, 1821. Rachel Crofton escapes the binds of her unhappy employment as a governess by marrying a charming self-made businessman. She sees a chance to create the family and home she has so long been without, but her new life soon takes an unexpected turn. Through her new husband's connections, Rachel is invited to become the companion of the reclusive Jonathan Alleyn, a man tortured by memories of the Peninsula War, and tormented by the disappearance of his childhood sweetheart, Alice. Starling, foundling servant to the Alleyn family, is convinced that Alice, the woman she loved as a sister, was stolen from her. Did Alice run away? Or did something altogether more sinister occur? Starling is determined to uncover the truth. Others want only to forget, and will go to extreme lengths to do so. Rachel's arrival has an unsettling effect on the whole Alleyn household, and suddenly it seems that the dark deeds of the past will no longer stay contained.Shattering truths lurk behind Bath's immaculate facades, but the courage Rachel and Starling need to bring these truths to light will come at a very high price.

This book begins in Bath England in two time slots, not that far between, 1803-1821.  In England this is still the time of servants and upper class.  Although in this book the servants are few, mystery surrounds the girl named Alice, who is being "cared for" by the Alleyn family.  She knows not who her parents are/ were she only knows she is bound to the the eldest Alleyn grandfather for all she has.

Eventually she meets his grandson and although it is not allowed they fall in love.  Alice is told nothing can come of it as he cannot marry below his station in life and he has been betrothed from the time of his birth.

After the war Jonathan Alleyn comes home wounded and traumatized from the war and from a letter he received from Alice telling him she loves him but they can never be together.  For 12 years survives in hell in a house with his mother and few servants, all of who are afraid of Jonathan.

Rachel enters the picture as she marries a man trying to make his fortune in wine selling.  It is discovered by Startling (a kitchen worker, who was raised by the now missing Alice) that this woman, Rachel, looks quite a bit like Alice.   Could there be a connection?   Would her being seen by Jonathan drive him more mad?   And where is Alice?  Did she run off with another ?  If so why?  Was she harmed?    Many family mysteries begin to come to the surface when Rachel comes to the Alleyn house.

This was a good read.  Though a bit of a "past romance" the mystery parts to discover just got better as the book went along.  The print was a big larger than normal (but not LARGE) so it was easier to read and probably wouldn't have been so many pages had the print been smaller.

I enjoyed this book and was a bit sorry when it ended, even though the length was more then the average book.

I've read this author before: A Half Forgotten Song, The Unseen and The Legacy.  I can't say I searched the author out but see seems to write the type of books I search for.

If you like period pieces with family mysteries this book would suit you!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Rattling The Bones

Rattling the Bones by Ann Granger.

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group (2007)
ISBN-10: 0755320468

From Bookcover:

Fran Varady is walking through Camden one day when she notices a familiar figure shuffling ahead of her.  It's "mad Edna", the bag lady who had, in a manner of speaking, been her neighbor when she'd been living in a squat in Rotherhithe a few years ago.  Now Edna is in a hostel and still roaming the streets, but before Fran can find out more, Edna becomes agitated and hurries away.  What could have spooked her? Surely the young man watching them could not possibly be interested in this harmless old lady?  Fran's instinct tells her something's wrong and, sure enough, when a dead body turns up she has every reason to fear the worst...

Determined to protect Edna from harm, Fran finds herself digging into the past, and the tragic story of a love affair and a family quarrel comes to light.  But, by rattling the bones of Edna's earlier life, Fran's detective skills uncover far more than she's bargained for.

Oh my, but this book grabbed me so fast I'm not sure what hit me!

I have never read any books by Ann Granger (and she is very prolific! having written more then one series of crime books) and, par for the coarse I picked this up at a thrift store, noting the price on the back indicated it was sold in England and a sticker for a Canada price but no American price. (hmm, a mystery in itself?!)

Anyway.. I love the characters and loved the way this author writes!  It's more like your friend sitting next to you chatting then some high literature person using words you aren't certain of. 

When she described "mad Edna" in the early stages of the mystery I knew she had me... I laughed out loud and thought... OMG!  just call me "mad Edna"! lol  I have to quote if from the book:

Fran was talking to Mad Edna and Edna mentioned that she thought she was engaged once... but couldn't remember..

"It was impossible to tell how she once looked.  The general shape of her face was round but her chin was pointed.  Heart-shaped, they call that.  Only in Edna's case the whole thing had sagged.  Her eyebrows had fallen out and were represented only by a sparse scattering of grey hairs.  She'd compensated by growing a few hairs on the chin.  Her eyes were deep set and heavy-lidded and the eyelashes had gone the way of the eyebrows. Yet, I noticed for the first time that her skin was very fine, like a piece of crumpled silk."

If Ann Granger had not become a writer she would be a stand up comic I am sure!

The book lines are not cramped, the chapters are not long...and it's very fast reading, along with a nice mystery and very good characters.  I understand there are a number of other "Fran Varaday" novels so I will be seeing if I can get another used one.  I totally enjoyed this book, and the author.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

In the Garden of Beasts

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson.

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Crown;(May 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 030740885X

  

Amazon.com Review

In the Garden of Beasts is a vivid portrait of Berlin during the first years of Hitler’s reign, brought to life through the stories of two people: William E. Dodd, who in 1933 became America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s regime, and his scandalously carefree daughter, Martha. Ambassador Dodd, an unassuming and scholarly man, is an odd fit among the extravagance of the Nazi elite. His frugality annoys his fellow Americans in the State Department and Dodd’s growing misgivings about Hitler’s ambitions fall on deaf ears among his peers, who are content to “give Hitler everything he wants.” Martha, on the other hand, is mesmerized by the glamorous parties and the high-minded conversation of Berlin’s salon society—and flings herself headlong into numerous affairs with the city’s elite, most notably the head of the Gestapo and a Soviet spy. Both become players in the exhilarating (and terrifying) story of Hitler’s obsession for absolute power, which culminates in the events of one murderous night, later known as “the Night of Long Knives.” The rise of Nazi Germany is a well-chronicled time in history, which makes In the Garden of Beasts all the more remarkable. Erik Larson has crafted a gripping, deeply-intimate narrative with a climax that reads like the best political thriller, where we are stunned with each turn of the page, even though we already know the outcome. --Shane Hansanuwat

This is yet another book I found at a thrift store.  In "new" condition, I read the flap and found it was not fiction and that it was about a family, the husband was Ambassador from the USA, sent to Germany just as Hitler became Chancellor.

It reflected how Germany was before the war, how the German people felt and acted, and what some parts of Germany looked like.  Then enters Hitler...  He keeps saying he wants peace, and for a while Dodd believed him and his "assistants".  Slowly we see the Storm Troopers and all those that Hitler, seemingly, has faith in to follow his orders.  You see the slow change in Hitler how he hates all the Jewish people and makes laws so that the Jewish can no longer work,. Then Hitler does things like sterilize those that he thinks "inferior" so they can't reproduce other that are "inferior".  He makes laws that White's cannot associate with Black's and German's cannot be seen even talking to a Jew. 

Then see some of his own "henchmen"  running and hiding knowing Hitler would turn on them too. And he does! You hear Hitler tell one of his Officers to go and kill another officer and his whole family because he "thinks" him a traitor.  And they follow his orders without a thought of their own.  It's all actually quite incredible.

Much of how the Ambassador's saw Hitler is talked about among each other.  And you see how Dodd's daughter, who in the beginning, thinks nothing wrong of Hitler and "his men" finally starts seeing what has been right in front of her all along.

It was an insight to Hitler before his total power but since we know the outcome you can "see" what other's did not or could not see.   It's still hard to believe there are people like Hitler, people who kill for reasons that make no sense. 

This is not a book I will likely read again.. but it was a point of view from one family (the Dodd's) who was in Germany in Hitler's beginning. It was actually interesting to read a first hand account of everyday living in Germany when "Heil Hitler" first came about.