Very long, complex plot, brilliantly written. It kept me engaged all the way through to the end. Until the last page totally horrified me.
My favorite...moreVery long, complex plot, brilliantly written. It kept me engaged all the way through to the end. Until the last page totally horrified me.
My favorite quote, which had nothing to do with the main plotlines;
"I've learned that things don't work out no matter what we want, so it's best to keep our wants to a minimum and to thank our stars, our luck, or our gods that we've been given as much as we have." Deborah(less)
I hope Genelin continues writing more novels in the Jana Matinova series. This is the second one I have read and there are only 2 more. His background...moreI hope Genelin continues writing more novels in the Jana Matinova series. This is the second one I have read and there are only 2 more. His background in Anti-Corruption Investigation and Prosecution is reflected in these stories. Matinova is a police commander in Bratislova. This book takes her to The Hague where she is on temporary assignment to Europol. Later her investigation takes her to Vienna.
Genelin's writing is somewhat uneven. He could do more with character development nad sense of place. But it is a fascinating glimpse into parts of Europe that don't figure prominently in English language literature.
Matinova is a smart, capable, compassionate mature woman. There is a sadness in her character. She has suffered losses in her life. Her fiance is murdered in a bombing at the beginning of this book. Although she is taken off the case she continues to search for the powerful evil behind his killing. I enjoyed the relationship that she developed with the old magician in the course of their investigation together. And I found the bittersweet ending very touching.(less)
Kathy Reichs always does great research on the theme of her books and I always learn something I didnt know. She does a good job with sense of place a...moreKathy Reichs always does great research on the theme of her books and I always learn something I didnt know. She does a good job with sense of place and I enjoy running around with her in Montreal and Charlotte and wherever else the story takes her. This book was of particular interest to me as my uncle was a member of the Hell's Angels gang decades ago. He and my grandparents are buried in the cemetery where the gunfight took place at the end of the book.
All the 'Bones' books follow a formula. Tempe Brennan, the forensic anthropologist who investigates badly decomposed bodies and/or skeletons, gets involved in investigating crimes to an extent that she really shouldn't be. Then at the end of the book, she goes into a dangerous situation and gets into trouble and her on-again off-again boyfriend comes to her rescue. Although it is all too common in books about female sleuths it's annoying. She is a very intelligent woman. She should be smarter than to get herself into these situations and smart enough to rescue herself.
But I like her characters. Tempe is a genuinely nice person, quirks and all. Not great literature but a decent read.(less)
Excellent! Jana Matinova, a Slovakian police commander is a fearless grandmother. Quite a change from the usual hard drinking detective in most myster...moreExcellent! Jana Matinova, a Slovakian police commander is a fearless grandmother. Quite a change from the usual hard drinking detective in most mysteries. I admire Jana's character for her integrity and compassion. The plot is complex and well executed. One of the reviews put it well; "Michael Genelin knows crime, knows Europe, and knows how to write." The gypsy story of the title is a subplot, but perhaps a metaphor for the larger story. I came across this book because it was in the library shelf next to the author I was looking for. Genelin has written 3 other books in this series that I will have to go back and read now.(less)
read the chapter on Austria-Hungary. They were not kind to Ferdinand, but it wasn't clear to me if the author believed that the war would have started...moreread the chapter on Austria-Hungary. They were not kind to Ferdinand, but it wasn't clear to me if the author believed that the war would have started if Ferdinand had not been killed.(less)
I was looking for books on the subject of depression and this popped up in my library search. I was about 3 chapters in before I realized that the ref...moreI was looking for books on the subject of depression and this popped up in my library search. I was about 3 chapters in before I realized that the reference was actually the ‘Great Depression’. I need to be more careful in scrutinizing my search terms.
The title character, Mary Coin, is based on Florence Leona Christie, the subject of Dorothea Lange's photo Migrant Mother (1936), an iconic image of the Great Depression. The book is written from the points of view of three characters, Mary Coin, Vera Dare the photographer and Walker Dodge, a professor of social history who is intrigued by the story of Mary.
The books follow a lot of the known details of her life. I don’t know why the author chose to write it as fiction rather than biography. In this case I think truth would have made a stronger statement. (less)
An account of a learned Englishman’s visit to Hungary shortly after the Hungarian Revolution attempted to overthrow the rule of the Austrians in the c...moreAn account of a learned Englishman’s visit to Hungary shortly after the Hungarian Revolution attempted to overthrow the rule of the Austrians in the country. Ansted enjoyed his ‘short’ trip of about 6 weeks and encourages others to visit Hungary which had become more open to tourism.
The book includes such delightful observations as this; ‘One point only I would direct attention to in reference to personal comforts on board the Danube boats. There is a table in "the sleeping saloon, supplied with basins and water for washing, but the sub sequent process of drying is left to the resources of the traveler. Not having taken a towel with me, and not knowing the custom beforehand, I was rather surprised after washing my hands and asking for this convenience to be told by the waiter, whom I had summoned to my help, that no such thing was allowed.* A napkin, surreptitiously purloined from the dinner- table, was the only resource.’
I was delighted to find this and many other English language books available free on Google-Play, to provide understanding of life in Hungary in the 19th century.(less)
The waiting list at the libraries was SO LONG to get this book. So my sweet husband boutgh it for my birthday. Happy Birthday to me! Thanks sweet husb...moreThe waiting list at the libraries was SO LONG to get this book. So my sweet husband boutgh it for my birthday. Happy Birthday to me! Thanks sweet husband. Now to snuggle under the warm covers and immerse myself in the adventure in Three Pines!
Penny just keeps getting better! Loved this book!(less)
This was an interesting concept. The author finds lockets of hair from several his ancestors from as early as 1830 in the drawer of a family heirloom...moreThis was an interesting concept. The author finds lockets of hair from several his ancestors from as early as 1830 in the drawer of a family heirloom desk. He decides to do DNA analysis on the hair to confirm or deny some family stories. They might have had an African and/or a Native American ancestor. He goes to several different DNA labs with different niche specialties. He explains at length the science behind DNA and analysis and interviews several scientists. Alternating with the science he tells stories of his ancestors and speculates about events that what might have occurred. I enjoyed all that, although the science was a bit over my head. Then at the end of the book he goes off on his rants with sweeping generalities about genealogists and scientists. He says that genealogists are all middle aged whites who “look for ancestors with the goal to unearth the whitest, most moneyed forbears they can. That is one definition of good genes.” After that he goes off on how arrogant scientists are, but maybe it’s not them, it’s the way journalists portray them. And DNA is unreliable anyway. But some scientist are really good people looking for the truth. If he would have just stuck with the story it would have been a good book, regardless of the outcome of the research. But his rants just really pissed me off. Mr. Ball, you lost 2 stars because of those rants. Also, it would have been really helpful to have included a family tree. I got quite lost with the relationships of the people behind the strands of hair. (less)
Wendy Burden was a poor lonely nasty little rich kid who had a morbid fascination with death. But as I got to know her family it wasn't very surprisin...moreWendy Burden was a poor lonely nasty little rich kid who had a morbid fascination with death. But as I got to know her family it wasn't very surprising. Her dad killed himself when she was six and she and her brother were sent to school the next day as if nothing had happened. I don't think I would ever want to be that rich but I guess it's a guilty pleasure reading about people with more money than sense.
It's a funny, sick, bizarre, sad, well-written story. (less)
Louise Penny just keeps getting better. I was advised to read her books in order but more often I read based on what volumes are available in the libr...moreLouise Penny just keeps getting better. I was advised to read her books in order but more often I read based on what volumes are available in the library, so I know I am missing the full stories of the assault in the warehouse and the murder for which Gabriel was convicted. Those events happened in book(s) I haven’t read yet. No matter. This book is set in Quebec City, a wonderful place I had the good fortune to visit a few years ago in the summer rather than the dead of winter. The cold doesn’t seem to bother Gamache and his dog as they take their midnight strolls playing fetch on the Fields of Abraham. As always the story is well researched and the sense of place is pervasive. The mystery of where Champlain is buried brings insight to significant Canadian history. Gamache is struggling with physical and emotional scars over the death of a young agent in the warehouse assault. The plots of her mysteries remind me of Agatha Christie. The reader doesn’t really have the information to figure out whodunit. But the characters and setting and side stories are so thoroughly engaging that it doesn’t really matter. Perhaps I will look up the chronology of her books and aim to fill in the missing ones. But then again, if her latest is on the shelves next time I’m in the library, why wait? (less)
Kathy Reichs is one of my go to authors when I don’t want something too demanding to read. I often learn something. Like the book about the Acadian le...moreKathy Reichs is one of my go to authors when I don’t want something too demanding to read. I often learn something. Like the book about the Acadian leper colony. I think she has toned down her ridiculous metaphors, or I am getting used to them. ‘Today he wore a burnt-orange shirt, black pants, and a tie that looked like a street fight at the south end of a color wheel’ Kathy Reichs is an author I rely on for relaxation I enjoy the word play games between Tempe and Ryan. She should do more of that. “Catching you at a bad time, cupcake?” “I was expecting someone else.” I set down the can. “Honey bun.” “I’m hearing that a lot lately.” “Honey bun?” “That I am other than your expectations.” “I thought someone might be calling with information on a case.” “Once more I’ve dashed hopes of which I know nothing.” “You sound like Winston Churchill.” I said. “That is nonsense up with I will not put.” This book’s evil plot is about abducted women. I don’t think that’s giving away too much. I figured out the bad guy before she did. She always gets herself into some life-threatening situation and needs to be rescued. I suppose that’s necessary for the genre and the dramatic climax, but I could do without. She’s too smart to be doing the stupid things she does. Still the story and the science are interesting. And her compassion for her friends and clients, even the dead ones, is endearing. (less)
This is the book of the month for book club. I have read too many fantasy books this year, when my preference would be none, but two of my dear friend...moreThis is the book of the month for book club. I have read too many fantasy books this year, when my preference would be none, but two of my dear friends liked and obviously someone in book club thought it would be good so I am going to approach it with an open mind. ;-)(less)
I didn't so much read it as skimmed the chapters of interest. If you have the clutter gene like my family, it is good to read one of these inspiration...moreI didn't so much read it as skimmed the chapters of interest. If you have the clutter gene like my family, it is good to read one of these inspirational tomes from time to time to get reinvigorated. The author apparently sells a lot on Craigslist. She got me excited enough to take pictures of a nice mirror I would like to sell, not quite excited enough to actually post it. Some clever suggestions like hanging your clothes with the hook facing in. when you wear, rewash and hang a garment hang in the other direction. This way you will know which clothes you never wear and are candidates to toss, keep or sell.(less)