This delightful detailed novel weaves turn of the century New York City with cross-cultural ancient myths andTurn of the Century Supernatural Charmer
This delightful detailed novel weaves turn of the century New York City with cross-cultural ancient myths and legends. We follow the Jinni and Golem, strangers in a new world, who must make their way among strange customs and languages. There are villains and heroes, often one and the same, and insights relevant to the search for identity and the meanings of family. A thoughtful fascinating read....more
When you hear the word "lobotomy" probably the first images that leap into your brain are those from the movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." PortWhen you hear the word "lobotomy" probably the first images that leap into your brain are those from the movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Portrayed as a procedure to control unruly and non-conforming patients, the lobotomy has, in many respects, become the symbol of American medicine at its worst. But was it? This well-researched, detailed book takes an unflinching look Dr. Walter Freeman, the man who, along with his partner Dr. Watts, pioneered the procedure in an era when the only alternative to taking care of the seriously mentally ill was to warehouse them in enormous state psychiatric institutions. No psychotropics were available at the time and the only other treatment really available was psychoanalysis, a therapy that works best with well-educated, articulate, non-psychotic patients. Freeman's work was over zealous, to be sure. However, he made the link between organic disease and behavioral signs and symptoms well ahead of others. Through the eyes of Freeman's journals (voluminous), family members, and colleagues, the author reveals the passion of a men intent on freeing patients from the bonds of serious mental illness and makes the reader question preconceived notions, as well as wonder about the new era of psycho-surgery....more
When I first began reading Merry Farmer’s OUR LITTLE SECRETS, I was immediately engaged by her main characters, Charlotte Baldwin and Michael West. AWhen I first began reading Merry Farmer’s OUR LITTLE SECRETS, I was immediately engaged by her main characters, Charlotte Baldwin and Michael West. A young woman on the run from a mysterious past, Charlotte heads west, away from Philadelphia and someone who has been following her from St. Louis. She arrives in Cold Springs, Montana, amidst a bevy of husband-hunting painted ladies and does her best to divest herself of their bawdy company.
Michael, the owner of the general store in Cold Springs, is at the train station to receive a shipment of goods for his emporium. To his amusement, Charlotte small mistakes him for a porter. Enchanted by the dark haired beauty, Michael decides to show her the town. Before long, the woman who wants a new life and was not in search of a husband and the man who had no desire to marry are wedded in a civil ceremony in a business deal where each promised not to ask questions about the other’s pasts.
Charlotte is introduced to the beauty of lovemaking and Michael is astonished at her virginity and her delight at her “wifely duties.” Soon they are making love in the bed, on the sofa, on the stairs, anywhere they can grab a moment and each other. Neither ever expected their business deal to turn into a love affair. They are happy, have friends in the community, and the business is doing well.
Little by little, however, suspicion enters into the relationship, along with some bad dealings from their past. Ugly rumors abound and their relationship hits the rocks. Just as it seems things can’t get worse, a dreadful person from their past arrives in town and delivers demands and ultimatums.
No spoilers from me! This book has action, adventure, romance, betrayals, and secrets within secrets. I very much enjoyed this Western romance. Mary Farmer’s attention to detail in the sounds and smells of the era and the small town setting put me into the story. Her characters are three-dimensional and flawed in ways that were endearing. Her plot took me for a fun filled ride with enough twists and turns to keep me flipping the pages late at night. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 Shiny Sheriff Stars....more
In an era when almost nothing is private and no topic taboo, JJ Brown reaches into the recesses of our psyches and pulls out the forbidden. Dreams areIn an era when almost nothing is private and no topic taboo, JJ Brown reaches into the recesses of our psyches and pulls out the forbidden. Dreams are personal, a clandestine journey in our deepest REM sleep into the darkest reaches of our minds. Some dreams are rehashing of a days events, some are prophetic, and some reveal our greatest fear: death.
In these novellas, the theme of death is explored from two perspectives. The Doctor’s Dreams investigates our fears of physical death and dying. On New Year’s Eve, in the hours between the death of an old year and the birth of a new one, a brother who lives with his sister worries that she has disappeared and may even be dead. He finds her dream journal and to pass the time, he types up her dreams. As he reads and types, he sees a side of his sister he has not known that well, her fear of death, and, more importantly her feelings of impotence in the face of the death of her patients. Does he find solace or concern in these writings? Will she return or be found dead in an alley? He types through the night, waiting, worrying, and watching the door.
In After the Layoff, the author examines our fears of the death of our professional selves. In an era when many of us define ourselves by our work, losing a job is a form of death. Not only does her main character, a chemist, lose her employment, but also the lifestyle that comes with it. Questions ricochet in her mind. What will become of me? How will I survive? Will I be homeless? Would my family be better off if I were dead? As a reader and a workaholic, in many ways, I found the After the Layoff to be more disturbing than The Doctor’s Dreams.
I commend the author for tackling terrifying topics and for bringing them to the surface for examination by thoughtful and fearless readers. ...more
This laugh out loud novel is a witty observation of academic foibles and management follies in its attempts to control scientific discoveries. A mustThis laugh out loud novel is a witty observation of academic foibles and management follies in its attempts to control scientific discoveries. A must read for anyone who aspires to enter the rarified atmosphere of uber-researchers and faux prophets. Beware: side effects of reading this book may include altitude sickness, hallucinations of power, and uncontrollable bouts of public hysteria....more
A first hand account of a war we don't often hear about, the China-Burma-India (CBI) theater. While many of us have relatively good knowledge of the EA first hand account of a war we don't often hear about, the China-Burma-India (CBI) theater. While many of us have relatively good knowledge of the European theater, as well as many movies and books in popular culture, the CBI is one we only recently have come to appreciate thanks to declassification of many OSS documents. Simultaneously helped and hindered by the British SOE, which felt the fledgling OSS was too green to have a major role in Europe, the CBI was open to the OSS by virtue of Eisenhower's support and need for better intelligence and behind the scene support from the people living in the countryside. This detailed account of the grueling work and sacrifices of the men of the 101 will live on in your heart. Highly recommend to any serious student of WWII and the OSS....more
This book provide an unflinching, warts and all look at an American hero. A larger than life man, Donovan was a visionary and powerful advocate for moThis book provide an unflinching, warts and all look at an American hero. A larger than life man, Donovan was a visionary and powerful advocate for modern spy craft and intelligence at a time when our Secretary of State said, "Gentlemen don't read each other's mail." I appreciated the depth of research it took to bring this detailed story to life. I highly recommend to any student of WWII and the role of intelligence in a modern era....more
A wonderful trip into an unknown nation on the heels of a very well known author, this book gives you detours, side trips, and insights into the origiA wonderful trip into an unknown nation on the heels of a very well known author, this book gives you detours, side trips, and insights into the original Orwellian world. A keeper!...more
What if you were sold into slavery or abducted, put into chains, and dragged to another country to serve in a palace? Would you comply and accept yourWhat if you were sold into slavery or abducted, put into chains, and dragged to another country to serve in a palace? Would you comply and accept your fate, broken-spirited, and demeaned by your captors? Or would you learn the art of court intrigue and play the long game, one that involves seduction, lies, and an ultimate betrayal? This story poses the intriguing question of how a slave girl rose from obscurity to becoming the queen of one of the most powerful kingdoms in the world. Was she lucky at love or was she a brilliant evil genius who brought the Ottoman Empire down, one heir at a time? While other reviewers have not agreed with the author's reading of the gaps in history, or his take on a woman's lowly life in the Turkish empire of Suleiman, I found this story and his interpretation compelling...more
When I first began to listen to this book, I thought, "Oh no. First person narrative." My skepticism turned to fascination over the course of the firsWhen I first began to listen to this book, I thought, "Oh no. First person narrative." My skepticism turned to fascination over the course of the first chapter, wherein the heroine settles on a shrink after going through a number of other psychologists and psychiatrists. It is not that she is fickle; she has post-traumatic stress disorder and is struggling to even speak of the atrocities to herself, much less to another person. A victim of abduction, rape, and daily abuse during her imprisonment by a psychopath, it is a wonder she has a shred of her former self left. I liked the heroine; she was realistic, pragmatic, and resilient. This book is a compelling, tough read, breath-taking and disturbing at the same time. If you enjoy thrillers and mysteries and have a voyeuristic streak, this first person narrative will keep you up late at night to finish the tale. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 suspenseful stars....more
Andy Barber is an Assistant DA in a small town, and is a likable man. He has a secret, one he shares with the reader, but not his wife, Lori, until hiAndy Barber is an Assistant DA in a small town, and is a likable man. He has a secret, one he shares with the reader, but not his wife, Lori, until his son, Jacob, is accused of stabbing a classmate to death. Andy's father, "Bloody Billy Barber" whom he hadn't seen since he was five, is in prison for murder. In fact, Andy comes from a long line of murderers. His grandfather was also a murderer, as was his great-grandfather.
When Jacob is arrested for the classmate's death, the slow wheels of the state grind forward, and so does this book. If you are a student of the law or wish to be one, then this book is for you. It has lengthy testimonies, explanations of legal terms, as well as information on how to visit your murderous father in prison (with care).
If you are interested in Forensic Psychology or Psychiatry, there are many chapters examining this aspect of a legal case, vis a vis competence, sociopathies, and biological links to violence and impulse disorders.
And, of course, this can be used in high school and college courses that deal with ethics and morality (and I see there is a study guide for students for this novel). The question this story poses is what would you do if your son was arrested for murder and the evidence piled up against him? Would you intervene? Would you find a way to rescue him? Or would you hand him over to the authorities?
Unlike other reviewers who found the ending stunning, I did not. The path was laid out clearly by the author through careful details given in the character's behaviors. The ending was completely in character, and not at all surprising given what we knew about them.
I admire the exacting research, the characters, motivations, and the plot twists. However, repeated references to real stores (Starbucks, Whole Foods, Staples, etc) and products, made me wonder about its relevance and if this was a new form of product placement. Over 12 hours listening time, it became annoying. ...more
There are seventeen million reasons to want someone dead--especially when that person is the one who stole it from you. A computer genius who is caughThere are seventeen million reasons to want someone dead--especially when that person is the one who stole it from you. A computer genius who is caught embezzling makes the mistake of thinking he can outwit a Russian mobster. Upon his release from prison, his past, and the past of his lover, wife of a police detective, come rushing back to hunt them down. If you like police procedures and attention to details, this is an excellent book. The tension between husband and wife over her infidelity provide an uneasy background to the investigation. In the end, the good guy wins, but at what cost? ...more
As a fan of The Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog, I was delighted to find this little gem tucked away in Willis' back list. Bonus points foAs a fan of The Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog, I was delighted to find this little gem tucked away in Willis' back list. Bonus points for the fact that I am also a lover of Lincoln trivia. The story, which is ignited by Lincoln's dream of his death, leads us in other disturbing directions. Jeff, a research assistant to an historical novelist finds himself babysitting a young, attractive woman, Annie, who has disturbing dreams while her erstwhile boyfriend and sleep researcher, Richard, visits his boss.
The young woman is a bundle of nerves and destroys an African violet while speaking to Jeff in what appears to be a fugue state. She speaks of dreams, the topic of his boss's latest obsession. However, they are not Lincoln's dreams, but Robert E Lee's dreams. Intrigued by her beauty and wistful sadness, Jeff takes it upon himself to rescue Annie from Richard's drugging attempts and whisks her away to Virginia. Before long it becomes apparent that this is a dreadful mistake. Her dreams, sleep-walking, and angst increase among the Civil War Battlefields as she relives each battle in terrible detail up to and including the surrender to Grant from the long-dead Lee's dreams.
This is not a story for the faint of heart. Unlike the Doomsday Book, which is in a distant past none of the living recall, this book revives an old American wound and brings the horror of our civil war to life in a deeply personal way, the invasion of Annie's sleep. No spoilers from me. If you love Willis and you love Civil War history, this is a book that will interrupt your sleep and squeeze your heart with pain....more
This highly inventive, creative fantasy from new author Sharon Sapp takes place on the two-mooned planet of Oquar. The story begins with Shauna, the hThis highly inventive, creative fantasy from new author Sharon Sapp takes place on the two-mooned planet of Oquar. The story begins with Shauna, the heroine, thinking about how she arrived on the planet. Rescued by Guardians,she was given to Laird KoDar to be his Lady. The Keep Goshen, which KoDar leads, is a fortified community. In this clan and across the planet, there is a shortage of women. Shauna finds that instead of being treated according to clan laws (no rape, no forcing young girls into breeding, etc) the men have treated the women with brutish behaviors. Her first order of business is to ensure clan laws are enforced. It is not an easy job, however,she accomplishes this and a number of other important tasks with her clever words and compassion.
Laird KoDar adores Shauna, will do anything she wants. However he knows a war is coming and alliances between keeps must be forged. One of these allies is the treacherous Randolph. This laird has no honor and lusts after Shauna. When he sees her, he becomes obsessed with having her. Thwarted first by her, then refused his "right" as an ally to breed with Shauna, he hatches a plan to destroy their happy marriage. Will he succeed?
This adventure packed story will lead you into a world of magical creatures, evil wizards, and prophecies. Will Shauna and KoDar survive? Or will Randolph have his way? No spoilers from me, you will have to read it to find out! ...more
This story is the second in Sharon Saracino’s stories about her snarky heroine, Maxine Logan, and her experiences as one of the rare few who was ableThis story is the second in Sharon Saracino’s stories about her snarky heroine, Maxine Logan, and her experiences as one of the rare few who was able to bargain her way back from death, arguing her death was in error (DIE). In the previous book, Max proposed she should fill in for Alicia, the Superintendent of Spiritual Impediment (SSI) who was on maternity leave. By the end of DEATH BENEFITS, Max believes she has fulfilled all the requirements for her job swap, plus she has made some major changes in her attitude and relationships.
Little does she know that the next chapter of her life will begin with her ex-husband’s death. Roger-the-Proctologist, with whom she has reconnected and realizes she still loves, has been in a plane crash. Alicia returns in the middle of the night and offers Max the job of retrieving Roger from the afterlife—provided she also retrieves his less than savory buddy, Dirk the Dirtball. She is less than enthusiastic about Dirk, but for Roger, she will endure anything.
Her adventure into the afterlife takes her through a portal via a very special key, into a world of dark wormy creatures, obstructive bureaucrats, crackling grannies, and Hellhounds. Max, never at a loss for snarky retorts, continues to roll with the punches, and in some instances, punches back. Can she rescue Dirk from the Red Light District of Snake Women? Can she get the Time Keeper to give her gin instead of water? Is the little dog who follows her down the brick road really Toto? Can she raise Roger from the dead? You will have to read the story for the answers.
While this is the second installment in the series, you do not have to have read the first one to understand where you are. The author does an excellent job of bringing the reader up to speed. However, I recommend you read them for the fun of the story and to watch Max develop as a character. While written in a light manner, the book touches on heavy subjects such as grief, letting go, and the meaning of men who wear black cashmere socks with sandals. I highly recommend this read and give it five glowing stars. I can’t wait to read the next one! ...more