He served and fought for his country. He was hurt several times and his blood pressure was dangerously high, but he never got a Purple Heart, because he was afraid he'd be shipped back home to the U.S. by the military doctors. He doesn't lament the 160+ confirmed kills he made during his 4 deployments, because he honestly believed the bad guys were evil. By killing insurgents he was saving American lives - SEALS, Marines, and Army. His belief system was "God, Country, and Family" in that order, much to his wife's (now widow Taya) regret. It was refreshing to see her thoughts interspersed throughout the memoir.
Toward the end of his last deployment, a couple of his buddies were killed or severely wounded. Kyle also had a couple of close calls himself. He cheated death and became obsessed with his own mortality. “I am a strong Christian. Not a perfect one—not close. But I strongly believe in God, Jesus, and the Bible. When I die, God is going to hold me accountable for everything I’ve done on earth. He may hold me back until last and run everybody else through the line, because it will take so long to go over all my sins. “Mr. Kyle, let’s go into the backroom. . . .” Honestly, I don’t know what will really happen on Judgment Day. But what I lean toward is that you know all of your sins, and God knows them all, and shame comes over you at the reality that He knows. I believe the fact that I’ve accepted Jesus as my savior will be my salvation. But in that backroom or whatever it is when God confronts me with my sins, I do not believe any of the kills I had during the war will be among them. Everyone I shot was evil. I had good cause on every shot. They all deserved to die.” ...more
Yes, the Christmas season is murderous. Old man Simeon Lee has called all of his family together for Christmas. One son, Alfred, is loyal to his fatheYes, the Christmas season is murderous. Old man Simeon Lee has called all of his family together for Christmas. One son, Alfred, is loyal to his father, David, the sensitive artist, has a burning hatred for his father. Harry is the prodigal son, returning after 20 years. George is an MP and needs money to support his young wife. Pilar is the granddaughter Simeon has never seen. The brothers wives hope the old man wants to reconcile with his sons and granddaughter. But that hope is short-lived as they enter Simeon's bedroom on Christmas Eve. Old man Lee is on the phone talking to his lawyer. He informs his family that he is going to change his will and reduce their allowances. He curtly dismisses them, telling them that he will see them all in the morning.
But morning never comes to Simeon Lee. The family hears furniture overturning and Simeon's unearthly scream. They all run upstairs to find his bedroom locked and Simeon isn't answering them. Stephen Farr, Simeon's old business partner's son help breakdown the door and the family finds the old man dead in a pool of blood. So much for a Merry Christmas. There is no shortage of suspects, everyone under the Lee roof has a reason to want the old man dead. M.Hercule Poirot is spending the holiday with his friend, the Police Super-indent, and is called upon to solve the case.
Christie weaves many red herrings into this classic tale of a lock room mystery as well as many Shakespearean quotes. A mustache, missing uncut diamonds, and a painting lead Poirot to the identity of the murderer. ...more
I still love this small book. It is the only Dickens novel that I've ever been able to read from cover to cover without giving up on the Updated 2015
I still love this small book. It is the only Dickens novel that I've ever been able to read from cover to cover without giving up on the book. I've read this so many times that I found myself reciting passages before I got to them.
But on this reading, I did discover a new nugget. How could I have missed that the ghost of Jacob Marley was always near Scrooge!?!
Anyway, I always shed a few tears each Christmas Season when I re-read this Classic. Tears of sadness for the Crachett family, especially for Tiny Tim. But tears of joy when Scrooge's heart becomes full again. The avarice, the bitterness of his losses and he rejoices with what he has, namely his nephew and the ability to help Tiny Tim.
Lastly I still full stand behind my first review of A Christmas Carol which is below these remarks.
Review in 2011.
“I HAVE endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.” ~Charles Dickens, 1843.
And so A CHRISTMAS CAROL has since its publication; it has never been out of print or truly out of fashion. It is the quintessential Christmas story and the easiest of Dickens books to read. The narrator introduces us to Mr. Scrooge, a man whose heart has turned to stone from ambition, care, avarice, and greed. We see him at his desk in Scrooge and Marley Money House dark and chilled since he is too tightfisted to permit decent coal fires and candles. He scorns everyone that visits his office Christmas Eve, especially his nephew, Fred. But when he finally gets home, the massive door knocker transforms into Marley’s face and strangely lights the foggy dark night.
But Marley specter follows Scrooge to his bed chamber with chains, locks, and money boxes wrapped about his transparent body. He means to save his friend the fate that he has endured since he died seven years ago on this very night. Three Ghosts will haunt Scrooge: The Ghost of Christmas Past, The Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come – whom looks much like Death. Through the lessons these specters will reveal, Scrooge has a chance to become a different man and employer and lead a different life.
Scrooge’s transformation is genuine as it is remarkable. Through Dickens’s simple narration, we not only witness Scrooge change but we also feel his emotions. We cry at the possible demise of Tiny Tim and the true affection Fred has for his uncle. Scrooge on Christmas morning has rediscovered faith, hope, and charity and his heart is full of love for the season as well as his neighbors. This novella is one I read every Christmas and I love it more each year....more
A true classic of libertarian science fiction as well as a scathing indictment against collectivism. Ayn Rand fury at the communist/collectivist systeA true classic of libertarian science fiction as well as a scathing indictment against collectivism. Ayn Rand fury at the communist/collectivist system explodes in this short novel. I both agree and somewhat disagree with her politics/philosophies. But Rand was always clear to her views without regard to what others thought of her. ...more
Black Coffee by Agatha Christie was first written as play in 1929 then novelized in 1930. And it truly is a masterpiece mystery. Hercule Poirot is sliBlack Coffee by Agatha Christie was first written as play in 1929 then novelized in 1930. And it truly is a masterpiece mystery. Hercule Poirot is slightly bored until he gets a call from Sir Claude Amory. He believes that his new formula is going to be stolen by a member in his household. Shortly before dinner on Friday, Sir Claude checks his safe - the formula is gone. He makes a quick call to London. After dining, Sir Claude, his family, his secretary, and and an Italian Doctor move into the library. The doors are locked until Poirot and Hastings arrive from London.
Sir Claude tells everyone that the lights will go out and the thief can return the formula without any repercussions. But when the lights return and Poirot walks through the door, he's not only got to investigate the theft, but murder. Sir Claude is dead. ...more
Wow! Such an amazing read! A true classic in the Murder Mystery Genre. Agatha Christie loved this plot: 10 strangers on an island, lured by U. N. OwenWow! Such an amazing read! A true classic in the Murder Mystery Genre. Agatha Christie loved this plot: 10 strangers on an island, lured by U. N. Owen (Unknown), are going to be killed for taking the life of another. Not only are they going to die, they are going to die exactly as the nursery rhyme:
Ten Little Soldiers
Ten Little Soldier Boys went out to dine, one choked his little self and then there were nine.
Nine Little Soldier Boys stayed up very late; One overslept himself and then there were eight.
Eight Little Soldier Boys travelling in Devon; One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.
Seven Little Soldier Boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.
Six Little Soldier Boys playing with a hive; A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.
Five Little Soldier Boys going in for law one got in Chancery and then there were four.
Four Little Soldier Boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
Three Little Soldier Boys walking in the zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
Two Little Soldier Boys sitting in the sun; One got frizzled up and then there was One.
One Little Soldier Boy left all alone; He went and hanged himself and then there were none.
Christie, herself, says that she had to write an Epigraph to explain what happened. Do any of the ten survive? And who among them is non plumbed U.N. Owen? The note in the bottle finally gives the readers the "who-dun-it". Agatha Christie surprised me. It's no wonder that And Then There Were None is considered a classic to Mystery fans and movie goers. The fact that is that And Then There Were None was published in 1939 shows Christie's genius....more
The American Lady is a good sequel to The Glassblower. But be prepared to have a hankey close by at the end. I'll admit I didn't see it coming though there were clues here and there.
Marie Steinmann is bored and hasn't created a new sketch for her family's glassblowing shop. At 38, she fears that she's all out of ideas. In New York, Wanda Miles is also having trouble finding her way in the world. She doesn't want to be a young wealthy socialite. She wants to make her own path in the world, just like the three Steinmann girls did 20 years ago. She even cuts her beautiful long hair! Remember this is is 1910. Not many "respectable" ladies are wearing their hair short, yet.
When she learns that her Aunt Marie is coming from Lauscha, Germany, Wanda is less than thrilled. That is until Marie gets there. Marie is nothing like Wanda's mother, Ruth. Marie takes in the sights of NYC like a youngster. She enjoys Wanda's company and Wanda's artsy friends. She begins going out with Wanda and her friends and meets a handsome young Italian Count, who seems too good to be true. (A clue there, Marie.) Soon Marie leaves NYC with 2 of Wanda's friends and Franco. Could Marie really leave her family business?
With Marie off in France and Italy, Wanda Miles is in Lauscha, Germany helping her her family. But which one: the Steinmann's or the Heimer's? Marie let slip that her father is not Steven Miles.
I'll admit that I've never heard of German Petra Durst-Benning before, and was expecting a typical historical novel: a lot of history with a daub of rI'll admit that I've never heard of German Petra Durst-Benning before, and was expecting a typical historical novel: a lot of history with a daub of romance. But what I got with The Glassblower was a great story that I couldn't put down! I had no idea that glassblowing was so intricate and is considered a man's domain. That might be because I'm an American woman and all things are possible for each one of us.
The stories of Ruth, Marie, and Johanna Steinmann are both compelling and urgent as the reader wants to know how "the women who rules the roost" will survive when their father, Joost, dies unexpectedly. Johanna is the practical one and seeks employment with her father's old wholesaler. Everything is working out fine until it doesn't. Ruth has her eyes on one of Heimer sons. After all Herr Heimer is the wealthiest glassblower in Lauscha. But it is the quiet middle sister, Marie, that will be the sisters' salvation. The artistic young woman will break the glass ceiling by creating her own designs and blowing the glass herself.
I was anxious to read The Girl in the Spider's Web for two reasons: 1. I love Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist and 2. Stieg Larsson didn't write it, David Lagercrantz did. Most of the novels in several series I've read after the original creator that penned the prior series novels are down right awful. So to my delighted surprise, The Girl in the Spider's Web stayed true to Stieg Larsson"s Millennium Triology. Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist both sound and act the same way as Larsson wrote them, with 1 little minor detail wrong - I don't remember Blomkvist ever calling Erika Berger "Ricky." And I looked in all 3 books. Another mild criticism is that David Lagercrantz went slightly over my willingness to suspend disbelief in a couple of small scenes. These little "offenses" brought my rating down a half star.
Lisbeth Salander awakes to a dream. A dream of a fist pounding a bed. Then she begins to type upon her computer. She finishes Ed the Ned's sentence. Ed Needham is speechless. There is no way the NSA can be hacked! But before his eyes is the evidence. But Wasp isn't showing off, she has reasons to lead the security analyst down her trails leading to "Thanos," Zala, and the Spiders.
Frans Balder is scared. His life's work is in jeopardy, as is life. His former employer stole his AI program. The new Video game is proof of that, but selling it to the Russian Duma and the criminal Spider Society is horrific. He's carried Artificial Intelligence to the highest level to date. In the wrong hands, his work could be used to eliminate...His son, August, must be protected at all costs. His Autistic son. So he calls Mikael Blomkvist in the wee hours of the morning. Blomkvist is willing to meet with Balder for two reasons. He knows that Balder used a female hacker that is likely to have been Salander, and Millennium is in financial trouble.
Blomkvist arrives just as Belder is murdered. He sees a little boy with glassy eyes banging his head against the bed's head board. The child has seen the killer. The killer who has a small spider patch on his jacket. He is part of Thanos' Spider Society who wants to destroy the sisterhood of the Wasp. Thanos is after the boy as well as Lisbeth Salander. Can she keep herself alive while protecting August? She knows who Thanos is. They've battled before. And which one will walk away this time?
Like Larsson, Lagercrantz pumps up the suspense from the 1st page and never eases up until the very end. Each chapter has multiple POVs that pumps the tension and suspense as the various scenes pushes the story line along. Yes, I say pushes because I felt like I was in a fast moving wagon that was directly locomative. There are the expected turns and twists, then more unexpected twists and turns. I can't reveal any more of the plot, because I'd ruin the whole novel for those who've not read The Girl in the Spider's Web. I was hooked and spent the whole night reading. If David Lagercrantz writes another Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist novel, you can bet your last dollar I will read it!...more
Finally! I patiently awaited this 7th installment of Jonathon King"s Max Freeman Series with great anticipation. And with good reason, my cynical loner Max is back! King really built the suspense in Don't Lose Her and never let up until the very last word. The Epitaph indicates the story line might not be finished. I love it! Hopefully the 8th in the series is being written as I write this review. Billy Manchester becomes more human too, willing to break the rules like Max. After all it is his wife and unborn child's life at stake.
Federal Judge Diane Manchester is hearing an extradition case involving the worst drug lord Columbia and the US have seen in a while. Soon after the defendant made a veiled threat toward her and her baby in court, Manchester is literally grabbed up from the Palm Beach street while she's walking to a cafe for lunch. Max answers Billy's call to find and rescue Diane. But things are never as they seem, aren't they? The Drug Cartel may not have kidnapped Diane. If it wasn't the cartel, then who and why?
Armed with 100K of walking money, Max follows leads throughout Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties. Eventually the trail leads him to the Everglades, and like Diane Manchester says while looking out of a window,"You're screwed. Max knows the Glades and you'll get hurt." But will Freeman get to Diane in time? The FIB's are always right behind him and are constantly demanding that Freeman be debriefed.
I loved the way King moved the story line by several POVs - Diane's,. a kidnapper's, Billy's, and Max's. This built the suspense and pacing brilliantly
It's National Library Week in Athena, MS. And Teresa and Charlie have decided to honor the old teen mystery series, like Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and others. But the centre display is all about Veronica Thane and her series creator - Electra Barnes Cartwright. When Charlie discovers that the author is still alive and living near Athena, he, Diesel, and Teresa drive out to meet her. And she agrees to appear at the Athena Library.
Now this news brings out several collectors, a publisher, her agent and EBC's Newsletter Editor. They are all are a little bellicose, obnoxious, and willing to do anything to add to their collection, even murder, especially when 5 unpublished manuscripts are found. Even Cartwright is not very pleasant. But what do you expect from a southern woman who is about to turn 100? Charlie and Diesel are on the case at his friend's, Melba Gilley, request. And Kanesha Berry isn't all that disturbed with Charlie's investigation this time. With EBC's Character- Veronica Thane's help, Charlie will reveal the killer's identity.
What's different about this installment is James' tribute to the YR detectives and procedures. And there's not much of that Southern "shade" being thrown. A very quick read and again I was surprised at "whodunit"! ...more
Oh my! Charlie is cringing in his own living room while the Ducote sisters and Vera Cassity are verbily battling over where the upcoming Friends of thOh my! Charlie is cringing in his own living room while the Ducote sisters and Vera Cassity are verbily battling over where the upcoming Friends of the Library Gala is to held. Seeing and hearing the vitriol coming from the wealthiest ladies in Athena MS has him in a mute stupor and wishing he'd never become a Friends of the Library board member. An'gel and Dickce Ducote yet again outmaneuvered Vera and hand Charlie his engraved invitation. The Gala is always held ate their home. Vera is livid. She goes to Charlie's office and requests to see the Ducote's papers and letters. Charlie must decline because the Ducote materials are sealed, and Miz Cassity must get permission from the Ducote sisters or their lawyer. Again Vera Cassity becomes viciously bellicose and threatens Charlie, his boarder - Justin, and Diesel.
Charlie finally sees why everyone in Athena loathe the Cassity woman. Even his housekeeper, Azalea Berry, hates the woman. She tells Charlie if "that woman comes into this house again, I quit." Charlie is taken aback. He's never seen Azalea this upset and angry. But he soon will discover how angry Vera has made someone. At the Gala Vera is found dead on a stair case landing and Azalea saw her being pushed by a person in the shadows. Not only is Vera out of public charity life, she is permanently out of circulation. And Azalea is Sheriff Tidwell's prime suspect! Both the Ducote sisters and Chief Deputy Kanesha Bell ask Charlie to investigate the murder much to his surprise. Finding the killer won't be easy, everyone in Athena would have liked to seen Vera Cassity dead. And Charli and Diesel will learn a few secrets about Athena's oldest and richest families.
Again, James kept me turning the pages as quickly as I could. There are few red herrings dropped here and there. But don't be fooled about who the killer is because there is a mini-mystery within the who-dun-it story line. Another delightful read! ...more
Debbie Macomber adds more depth to this installment of her newest series Rose Harbor Series both in content and in her narrative telling of the storyDebbie Macomber adds more depth to this installment of her newest series Rose Harbor Series both in content and in her narrative telling of the story in Silver Linings. Told in the 1st person perspective, Jo Marie Rose wonders if her Inn truly has the healing powers that she believed to be true, since her latest guests left downhearted and Mark Taylor has left Cedar Cove taking her heart with him. She has finally found love in another man that is not Paul. His cryptic statement that her husband Paul was truly a hero and that he, Mark, is a coward who should've died instead He must leave Cedar Cove and her to dig himself out of a black hole. Only after he's gone does Jo Marie learn why and fears for Mark because he has put himself in grave danger.
Macomber then uses the 3rd person perspective to tell the story of the two young women, Coco and Katie, who have return to Cedar Cove for their tenth high school reunion. Coco wants to confront the boy who betrayed and humiliated her in their senior year. That experience has left her with trust issues with men. Katie, on the other hand wants to reconnect with her first love. But James had made it very clear that her attempts to reach out to him are unwanted to say the least. Both learn that people do change in ten years and leave Rose Harbor Inn a bit bemused and very down.
But what is different is Macomber continues the three women's stories after that weekend and that made their story more compelling. She usually wraps up all of the loose threads leading to a happy ending before the guests check out. Not all of the women in Silver Linings get that happy ending - one is making a long term reservation to stay at Rose Harbor. And what about Mark Taylor? I guess I'll have to wait until the next installment to find out. ...more
Wow! I finished The House at Riverton a few days ago and I'm still trying to process my emotions about the noveWish I could give it 10 Stars
Wow! I finished The House at Riverton a few days ago and I'm still trying to process my emotions about the novel. I loved, loved it since I gave the book the highest rating that exists here, but my emotions are still roiling. An omission of truth led to tragic consequences. But great British Gothic stories are almost always tragic, aren't they? I loved how Kate Morton paid homage to one of my favorite novels, Rebecca, Upstairs, Downstairs even my favorite drama, Downton Abbey and the The House of Mitford. I knew this fact before I read the authors answers in the novel's Q and A. And Kate Morton does a wonderful job of blending these influences to perfection.
Morton's style reminds me of Daphne du Maurier, easy to read but powerful. She develops the characters so well, that I sometimes forgot that they are fictional. I'd love to meet every one of them, even Mr. Hamilton. She accurately depicts the Edwardian Era and her vivid description of Riverton made me feel that I was actually there with Grace and the Hartfords.
Some reveiwers did not enjoy Morton's use of flashbacks, tapes, and letters. I did - I don't think Grace's story could have been told any other way. We readers too become archeologists peeling back layers upon layers to find out what happened on that dark, pivotal night by the lake when a young poet died and a family was forever changed.
A young film maker is doing a bio-pic of the Hartfords and Riverton. She learns that Grace Bradley was a servant at The House at Riverton and may know what happened the night that the young poet R. S. Hunter committed suicide. Of course the 98 year old Dr. Grace Bradley knows exactly what happened - she was there! And she knows the why. Will she tell Ursala? She does tell, but whom? But first Grace must tell what led up to "the crossing the Rubicon". It started when she was 14 and entered service to the Hartford's at The House at Riverton in 1914. ...more
Dead Scared really shook me up. Creepy folks, really creepy. DI Mark Joesbury has DC Lacey Flint go undercover at Cambridge University. Too m4.5 Stars
Dead Scared really shook me up. Creepy folks, really creepy. DI Mark Joesbury has DC Lacey Flint go undercover at Cambridge University. Too many students have been committing suicide, with as many failing at his/her attempts. Dr. Evi Oliver believes these students are being influenced by online pressure from suicide websites and chat rooms. DI Joesbury and Scotland Yard believe something more nefarious is going on at the colleges. These people are either being controlled by evil persons or they are getting help. The suicides are way to elaborate. And there is absolutely no trace evidence.
Flint is just supposed to keep her eyes open and not investigate. Right. We are talking about DC Lacey Flint, after all. Of course she investigates. As she gets closer to the truth, she is targeted. They want to kill her, but she, Lacey Flint must do it herself. They cannot be exposed. Who can she trust? Will she she leave Cambridge alive or in a body bag?
Bolton never lets off the gas. Her narrative is moving faster and faster. The reader feels the anxiety that the girls, Lacey, and Dr. Oliver feel. Stalkers, surveillance, invasion of privacy all feel to real. I checked my front door several times last night. I felt their fear as they were being "scared to death." The killers know what each is most afraid of. ...more
“In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are. And sometimes, perhaps, we don’t want to know what we would do to survive.”
It “In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are. And sometimes, perhaps, we don’t want to know what we would do to survive.”
It is true of Vianne Mauriac as she remembers who she was and what she did during the Nazi occupation of France. She is a wife, a mother, and a fearful woman as the war breaks out. She and her sister, Isabelle Rossignol, have had a terrible childhood and Vianne won't let anyone/anything put her or her family in jeopardy. While the young Isabelle is wild, impetuous, and brave. She longs to be loved and wanted by her Papa and sister.
But she hates the Nazis and wants desperately to do something, fight them. And she does. She becomes the infamous "Nightingale". The Nightingale and her network help downed pilots to safety in Spain. The network has become so successful that the Nazis are working very hard to find the Nightingale.
Vianne always believes the worst of Isabelle and has no idea of what her sister is doing. "Don't come back ever." Those words she said to her sister will haunt her until Isabelle and Vianne see the end of the War. It is Sophie who tells Vianne, "It's about time." Vianne realizes that she hasn't sheltered her daughter from the War, the 2 Nazi soldiers that billeted with them, the gathering of Jews and Resisters - nothing. Sophie has seen it all - all of the ugliness, the injustices, and the horrors of what is happening. When Vianne begins to help hiding Jewish children, I began to like her.
Unlike almost of the reviewers here, I didn't like Vianne. I found her to be weak, so fearful that her fear numbed her to what was going on in her village. Even some of the villagers raised eyebrows with her relationship with Herr Beck - the 1st German soldier. I wanted to like him because he seemed to have a sense of right/wrong and seemed ashamed at some of the actions his comrades. But I was wary of him; he was a Nazi after all. I was right to be wary.
Isabelle captured my heart completely. Yes, she was young, her neediness to be loved, her need to belong were exhausting, but I understood and related to her. I wish if I had lived in France during that time, I would be more like her and not like Vianne.
Kristin Hannah created a beautiful WWII fiction novel that explored what the women did, rather than focusing on soldiers or men. ...more
Franklin Brand is back. The Franklin Brand that took Jesse's ability to walk and killed his buddy. He confesses to Evan that he's still stuck there inFranklin Brand is back. The Franklin Brand that took Jesse's ability to walk and killed his buddy. He confesses to Evan that he's still stuck there in Mission Canyon. He can't move to comfort his swimming mate as he lay dying. More memories are coming back and he's being blackmailed all within 9 weeks of his and Evan's wedding.
A couple claiming to be ex-CIA want to hire Evan to ghostwrite their memoirs. She senses something off putting about the couple. She's right. They are part of what happened to Jesse up in Mission Canyon. Her friend is legal counsel for Mako, the company that Brand worked for, is acting weird. The CEO made right toward Jesse, but something is rotten within Mako headquarters, and as Evan and Jesse seek justice for Brand more bodies turn up. What is Mako up to? And why did they (and still do) want Blackburn and another buddy dead?
Again, Meg Gardiner writes a fast paced suspenseful novel. There a few scenes that really stretch suspension of disbelief, but her full characterization of Evan and Jesse in China Lake and this sophomoric installment will allow that suspension of disbelief. Another recommended read. ...more
Big Little Lies will make you laugh, cry, and angry, because the little lies are outrageous. It is something I've never read before: a who's-gonna-getBig Little Lies will make you laugh, cry, and angry, because the little lies are outrageous. It is something I've never read before: a who's-gonna-get-it meets coming of age. Yes, the parents do grow up. The writing is wonderful. Each woman has her unique voice and problems - "Oh, calamity!" In between the changing POV Liane Moriarty adds some juicy school parent gossip that furthered the story line - a parent dies on Trivia Night. We readers know that the chain of events begin when Madeline falls in the street and new school mom, Jane gives her a ride to kindy orientation day. Jane's 5 year old boy is accused of bullying a little girl. Battle lines are drawn.
Madeline, Jane, and Celeste among others are on Ziggy's side vs. The Blond Bobs and the little girl's mummy.
There are a few serious issues running through the novel, and Moriaty makes them work with her prose and easy writing style. To say more about the plot and subplots would ruin this wonderful book. I highly recommend Big Little Lies. ...more
I had to get some emotional distance before sharing my thoughts on The Bell Jar. I read this in high school many years ago and I remember thinking howI had to get some emotional distance before sharing my thoughts on The Bell Jar. I read this in high school many years ago and I remember thinking how anyone could feel as if a bell jar has suddenly descended upon their soul or psyche. But after I experienced a few traumatic events in my own life, I understand how Plath could feel that desolation and despair. While I was able to bounce back from my painful experiences, Plath could not - she committed suicide at the young age of 30.
Such a gifted writer and poet she was! She had a wonderful gift of language and imagery in her writings. Her poems are magnificent. In The Bell Jar, I think as Esther (and Plath) received awards upon more awards, her expectations for and of herself were so lofty; there was only one way to go - downwards. And that was the shear shame of Plath's life. She never lived long enough to see the appreciation of her readers of her work! ...more
I debated whether to give this 4 Stars because I really enjoyed the novel, but it was slow in parts. Then I remembered that Greg Iles is a S3.75 Stars
I debated whether to give this 4 Stars because I really enjoyed the novel, but it was slow in parts. Then I remembered that Greg Iles is a Southern Writer. He takes his time. And that is not a bad thing. But for a mystery, I prefer more of a fast pace that keeps me up at night turning pages. Though in some scenes I did turn the pages quickly, sometimes holding my breath thinking 35 years isn't long enough for Penn Cage to re-open a murder that has the hallmarks of being a civil rights murder. Del Payton was killed in between MLK and Bobby Kennedy in 1968.
Payton was involved with the movement, and was promoted to a job that had been for "whites only." He was considered "uppity" by 1968 Natchez MS white population. Cage had returned home to Natchez hoping it's serenity and his parents could help his 4 year old daughter, Annie, with her grief of losing her mother - Penn's beloved, Sara. But statements he said off the record during an interview with Natchez's newspaper has blown up the small MS city. And Livy Marsden is back in town, too complicating Cage's life as well as the case.
As Penn decides whether to take the case, he finds out that Livy's father - Judge Leo Marsden - is involved, he's full steam ahead. He will destroy the Judge, as Marsden tried to destroy Penn's father years ago. What Penn Cage finds is corruption and every one attached to the case is playing "the quiet game." As people talk, people die. To win the case and find justice for Del Payton, he must play "the quiet game" and live. ...more
Wow! What a good read State of the Union was! Brad Thor, as usual, kept me up way past my bedtime, flipping the pages as fast as I could. The Author NWow! What a good read State of the Union was! Brad Thor, as usual, kept me up way past my bedtime, flipping the pages as fast as I could. The Author Note was quite chilling - I thought those Nuke caches were fictional, but they are real and haven't been found.
Yes, Nuke caches hidden by former USSR sleeper agents. These are suitcases with a nuclear bomb (among other things) hidden in various parts of the United States. No American is safe, nor are cities or small towns. (For once I figured out where the suitcases were before Scot Harvath did.) President Jack Rutledge receives a "ransom note" hidden within his daily NSA briefing folder. Evidently the Cold War has heated up again. And only a few people have access to the briefing folder. Who in his Administration can the POTUS trust. The State of the Union Address is only 10 days away.
Rutledge does not want to give Russia what she wants. It would mean the ruination of America. Russia as the sole dominant World Power? Not on his watch. An old Cold War clandestine group is called into action, but 10 of the 12 men have been murdered; and of the two remaining members, one is missing - Gary Lawlor. Could Scot Harvarth's boss be a traitor? Or have the Russians killed him too.
With time running out before the State of the Union address that the Russians expect Jack Rutledge to give - ceding to their demands, another terrifying discovery is made. For years the Russian have funneled their International Aid monies into into a top secret air defense system, that has just been activated rendering any conventional attack upon their country utterly ineffective.
Out of options the President and his few trusted advisers turn to former Navy Seal and Secret Service Agent, Scot Harvarth. Assigned to a covert section of the Department of Homeland Security and charged with defending the nation against all foreign aggressors by any means necessary, Harvath finds himself hand-picked by the president to unravel a brilliantly orchestrated, fiendishly timed conspiracy that has already started to unravel relationships among nations. Pack warmly Scot, Russia is cold this time of year. ...more
Darla shook her head. If someone composed a soundtrack to her life at the shop, then every mention of Hamlet would be accompanied by4.5 Stars
Darla shook her head. If someone composed a soundtrack to her life at the shop, then every mention of Hamlet would be accompanied by shrieking violins and an ominous dum-dum-DUM stinger. A stereotypical bookstore feline would curl picturesquely in a wicker basket and greet customers with a purr. But Hamlet stalked the shelves like a miniature Genghis Cat, black fur and green eyes as cold and sparkling as emeralds. The store's regulars all knew the drill - knew, as well, where they stood in his feline rankings - while first-time shoppers quickly learned their places in the hierarchy."
I love me some Hamlet. And he decided on the part-time clerk. That had me in stitches. Oh, he's also a witness to a murder - a customer of Darla's bookstore. And his human, Darla Pettistone and her would-like-to-be boyfriend discover the body in the basement of the Brownstone that the two men are renovating. Curt was a little sleazy, but he didn't deserve to die, or did he?Curt's very young girlfriend is missing. Could Tera have killed Curt? Her mother, Hilda, had motive to kill him too. So did Porn Shop Bill. Yes, that is another flamboyant character. Or did the thieves terrorizing the neighborhood do Curt in?
Hamlet begins knocking off books from shelves as clues to the killer's identity just as he did in Double-Booked for Death, and Darla pays attention to the clues this time. Darla knows where she fits in Hamlet's hierarchy, but that might change since both she and Hamlet find themselves in dire trouble, trapped by the killer.
This 2nd installment was so much better than the series' debut novel. And I got fooled again, it wasn't who I thought. The characters are much more developed, and Robert is truly delightful. He made me laugh, and shed a tear. I'll need to read the next one, soon. ...more
Brad Thor is always great. He can take current events and spin a good yarn. Act of War is no different. If you don't think our National debt is a majoBrad Thor is always great. He can take current events and spin a good yarn. Act of War is no different. If you don't think our National debt is a major security problem, then read this novel.
A covert CIA agent dies in China and his top asset has devastating information. China is planning an imminent attack on the United States. Code named Snow Dragon, this attack will be lethal - 90% casualty rate. This asset says the attack won't be a conventional attack. China won't fire a shot, they own our debt. She also says that Colonel Shi has outsourced the first volley to Mideastern States to further protect China from International implications.
Six foreign students mysteriously disappear, two airline passengers trade boarding passes, and a political refugee is arrested. These events are not as random as they appear to be. The Chinese asset just may be correct. Scot Harvath must lead one team and mission - "Blackbird" while Seals infiltrate North Korea to see what the Chinese are up to in the PLK - "Gold Dust." If either team or mission is compromised, these missions will turn into Acts of War.
Thor keeps the reader turning the pages as fast as the reader can. His trademark short chapters furthers the suspense and story quickly. ...more
Peter Pan lives if you believe; just look and wish upon the Second Star To The Right. Faye O'Neill and her two young children arrive in Londo4.5 Stars
Peter Pan lives if you believe; just look and wish upon the Second Star To The Right. Faye O'Neill and her two young children arrive in London. They are quite subdued. Faye's divorce has had quite the effect upon all three of them. She's not the same confident woman she was before marrying Rob O'Neill. Six year old Tom has not spoken a word in over a year after...
Maddie is precocious. She is bossy with a heart of Gold yearning to be safe and loved. She is very protective of her mum and younger brother. No. 14 just may be what the Doctor ordered. No. 14 is where Wendy Forrester lives up in the Nursery that looks amazingly like Wendy Darling's. And the old woman truly believes that she is THE Wendy. Her daughter sternly tells the O'Neill's that they are not to disturb the old lady. Do they listen? Nah! And that's the magic of the story, or at least part of it.
The other part of the story is in the 2nd flat. Jack Graham is a very handsome world renown scientist and loves the house and ol' "Crazy Wendy." He himself is a Lost Boy. (Peter Pan's Lost Boys? Maybe, maybe not.) When you believe, anything is possible! Can this old house with the overgrown garden that the children clean up with the smiling Peter Pan fountain heal two broken adults and two frighten and sad children? Believe, and wish upon the second star to the right and you'll too will begin to hear a flute and see a small ball of light flying throughout No.14 in London.
I just loved this novel! Mary Alice Monroe has brought Peter Pan's magic to the novel, but not in an overt way. I laughed and cried in various parts and when it ended, my heart was swollen with joy! ...more
The island of Bora, Bora during WWII, a well hidden bungalow that the islanders believe is cursed - considering the painter whom dwelt there, it's posThe island of Bora, Bora during WWII, a well hidden bungalow that the islanders believe is cursed - considering the painter whom dwelt there, it's possible - a soldier who is neither an officer nor a gentleman, a murder, a baby, and an ill fated love affair. What more does this reader want? Not a thing! I loved, loved this novel! It will rest in my heart until I decide to read it once again.
Sarah Jio's writing had me at various times: chuckling, out right crying, and holding my breath. I hated that it ended; I could have stayed with Anne and Westry for a while longer. At times Jio's prose sung and my emotions ebbed and flowed with the story.
The characters are wonderful, even the loathsome Kitty. My heart wept for Atea, "Cleo", and "Grayson". I loved the ending - it was what should have happened - "Cleo, you're a little late." Just as I was to read this delightful novel that had sat on my shelf waiting for me.
While this installment is not my favorite in the Cedar Cove Series, I did enjoy 1022 Evergreen Place. It is becoming clear that Debbie Macomber wants to end this delightful series, because she packs many details and people in this installment, trying to tie up many loose ends. Faith and Troy, Will and Shirley to name a few. Olivia is getting better. Oh will I miss Cedar Cove! I've read The Inn at Rose Harbor but I love catching up with these characters in this series!
Linc and Lori are adorable and I love both James and Christie. They make a significant appearance in this installment, but I'd like them to have a separate novel - 13 & 14. But getting back to Mary Jo Wyse and Mack McAfee. Mary Jo realizes that she is falling for Mack. Mack is having doubts about Mary Jo - she broke off their engagement earlier and he doesn't know how to show her that he loves her. Noelle is a bonus to that love he feels for Mary Jo. The letters from a soldier to his beloved girl are proving the perfect distraction for the couple - and they will finally get answers to whom the couple is. Mary Jo's brother Linc is happy married to Lori. He's even setting up another shop in Cedar Cove unless Lori's father decides otherwise. Rachel Peyton is pregnant. Bruce is very happy, his daughter Jolene is not. Trouble is brewing on Yakima Street. I'll have to visit 1105 Yakima soon....more
Alyson Richman says in her Note that she wanted to tell the story of an artist surviving the Holocaust. Then she heard of a story in which an old coupAlyson Richman says in her Note that she wanted to tell the story of an artist surviving the Holocaust. Then she heard of a story in which an old couple that had married before WWII who lost each other, then again found the other one at their grand childrens' wedding. Thus began the stories of Lenka and Josef. The writing is exquisite, poetic at times. I smiled as they got married, angry when Lenka stayed in Czechoslovakia, and cried in different parts of both their stories. The ending was so beautiful - I was sobbing with joy. Not many of us get a second chance. Will Josef and Lenka take it? Read to find out.
Just imagine you are at your grand daughter's reception. Your sleeve has risen a little, exposing a blue numbered tattoo. But the old man isn't seeing the blue ink, he's seeing your birthmark. He speaks softly, "Lenka, you don't recognize your husband?" Slowly you fill in the grey hair with black and soften the lines in his face, and you think back 60 years. This is how Lenka and Josef's story begins.
It's so hard to describe the novel without giving much of the story away. So, I tease you with some of my favorite passages.
I am in love with a shadow. I look for her in the darkness of the hallway. I search for her in the eyes of the old women crossing the street...[Lenka] still haunts me like a lioness, a cat with piercing eyes. Over sixty years have past and her shadow still walks beside me. Her shadow stretching long and black - waiting for me to reach for her - waiting for me to extend my hand."
But in order to survive in this foreign world, I had to teach myself that love is very much like a painting. The negative space between people was just as important as the positive space we occupy. The air between our resting bodies, and the breath in between our conversations, were all like the white of the canvas, and the rest of our relationship - the laughter and the memories - were the brushstrokes applied over time