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Monday, June 01, 2020

The Indomitable Florence Finch: The Untold Story of a War Wido Turned Resistance Fighter and Savior of American POWs by Robert J. Mrazek

I read this in January, and it was one of my favorite books that month--a good opening to the new year.

The title belongs to Florence, and she ties everything together, but this is as much about the invasion of the Philippines by Imperial Japan as it is about Florence.

Florence was working at the G-2 (Intelligence) Headquarters in Manila under the command of Lt. Colonel E.C. (Carl) Engelhart when she met and married Charles (Bing) Smith, USN.  After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Bing reported to his PT boat and was involved in the defense of Corregidor where he died in action.  They had been married for only six months.  

Engelhart was captured after the fall of Corregidor and sent to a POW camp in Cabanatuan, where he began keeping a record of his time in captivity and the help provided by Florence and others to the POWs.

Disturbing to me was the failure of General MacArthur to act according to the strategic plan in place (a when, not if, the Japanese continued their encroachment in the Pacific).  Had he done so, the outcome in the Philippines may have been different.

Florence managed to obtain work with the Japanese-controlled Philippine Liquid Fuel Distributing Union, and working with the Philippine Underground, she was able to divert fuel supplies to the resistance.  She also worked with others to smuggle in food and medicine to the POWs.  The consequences of being caught meant torture and probable death.  

In 1944, the Japanese finally caught on.  Florence was arrested and tortured.  When finally rescued by American forces in 1945, she weighed only 80 pounds.  

I've only touched briefly on some of the events in the book, but it was well-written and fascinating.  The documentation of the work is extensive, and in large part, from primary sources.  

Highly recommended! 

Read in January; blog review scheduled for June 1, 2020.

NetGalley/Hatchette Books
Biography/Memoir/WWII.  June 16, 2020.  Print length:  368 pages.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle

What if your new husband was from the genteel side of the tracks and you were were a gas station attendant;  he grew up in privilege and your background was trailer park; he was eleven years older and very rich and you never aspired to much more than a steady job?

What if his first wife drowned under mysterious circumstances and many in the town believed that he may have been responsible?

Then if another young woman is discovered drowned under the dock of your magnificent house--how would you react and who would you trust?

Charlotte and Paul's marriage seems to be working despite the gossip about his first wife's death and Charlotte being designated a gold digger.  But one lie opens up a number of lies and and secrets and questions about the past and the present.

I thought I had it worked out, and I was partly right, but there was another twist that I didn't expect.   Overall...meh.

Read in March.  Review scheduled for May 31.

Mystery/Suspense.  June 9, 2020.  Print length:  352 pages.  

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson, Autumn Secrets by Susan C. Muller

It seems like almost everyone has read Eight Perfect Murders, and there isn't much I can add without spoilers. 

from description:  A chilling tale of psychological suspense and an homage to the thriller genre tailor-made for fans: the story of a bookseller who finds himself at the center of an FBI investigation because a very clever killer has started using his list of fictions most ingenious murders.

What's to love:  Malcolm Kershaw owns a bookshop.  A narrator who is holding some things back.  Plenty of twists that keep Malcolm trying to unravel who is killing people based on his own list of perfect murders.  

Mystery/Thriller.  2020.  Print length:  270 pages.

In 2018, I read the three previous books in this series featuring Houston detectives Noah Daughtery and Connor Crawford.  I liked all three, and I enjoyed Autumn Secrets  as well.  

A serial killer has been burying bodies in a field.  When Noah and Conner arrive, they expect only the one body that had been discovered, but a misstep in the muddy field reveals another body and means the use of dogs to see if there are more.  And there are.  (This was interesting because the "borrowed" dogs were being trained to find survivors and become upset when they realize the scents they are locating are not survivors, but the dead). 

A character from the first book, makes another appearance as a romantic interest for Noah.                                                                                                                
This is the final book in the Seasons Pass series.  I hope it isn't the final book for the characters.

Read in April.  

Police Procedural.  2017.  Print length:  276 pages.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham

I've followed Michael Robotham's Joe O'Loughlin series for years, attached to the characters and appreciative of the well-written narratives.  Last year, Robotham introduced a new series with forensic psychologist Cyrus Vance.  

A child discovered in a secret room, filthy and emaciated, is taken into care.  The girl refuses to give her name, and when there are no records of a missing child, the state gives her the name Evie Cormac.  After the failure of several foster placements, Evie is placed in a secure facility care home.  Six years later, she is seeking emancipation. one knows for sure when she was born, although she claims to be eighteen there are those who don't believe she should be released.  

Because Cyrus Vance once wrote a paper on truth wizards, a former classmate asks him to observe Evie.  The man believes Evie falls into that tiny category of people who can tell if a person is lying with at least 80% accuracy.  Cyrus is doubtful, but he is naturally curious about Evie and about why she reveals nothing about her past, not even her name.  From his experience with those who have endured traumatic experiences, he believes he understands her reluctance.  Cyrus, however, doesn't know what Evie knows.

Cyrus is also involved in a case that involves the murder of Jodie Sheehan, a fifteen-year-old Olympic figure skater hopeful.  The two plot lines pull together and the reader alternates between the two view points, from Cyrus to Evie and back again.  Some of the background of each is revealed, but secrets and questions remain.

A gripping read with complex characters; both Cyrus and Evie have trauma in their past and both are survivors.  Although toward the end, the author allows you to get a hint of the reason behind the murder of the young skater, the conclusion is unexpected.  

(I actually read When She Was Good, the next book, before this one.  The review for that one is scheduled for later.)

I am really pleased with this new series, but hope the author doesn't forget about Joe O'Loughlin.  


Psychological Suspense.  2019.  Print length:  368 pages.  

Monday, May 18, 2020

You Can't Catch Me by Catherine McKenzie

Catherine McKenzie has the ability to generate anxiety in the reader, and her latest novel continues the trend.  The anxiety is often a result of fear that the main character has taken a road that will end in disaster.  You may like and sympathize with the protagonist, but the apprehension generated by her behavior just keeps building.

You Can't Catch Me has two principal threads--one in the present and one in the past.  

from description:  After being fired from her investigative journalism job for plagiarism, Jessica Williams is looking for a break from the constant press coverage. She decides to escape for a week to a resort in Mexico boasting no connections to the outside world. While waiting at the airport for her flight, she encounters a woman with the exact same name, who she dubs Jessica Two. Drawn together by the coincidence, they play a game of twenty questions to see what other similarities they share, and exchange contact information.

The game of twenty questions is clever.  "Jessica Two's" game has elicited answers to questions that will enable her to Jessica Williams' bank account.  Our Jessica on finding her recent settlement money gone, sets out to find "Jessica Two."

The connection to the past is our Jessica's having been raised in a cult which she escaped when she was eighteen.  These sections alternate with the present search for "Jessica Two."

You can count on plenty of twists from Catherine McKenzie.  There are more Jessica Williams that have been tricked and had their accounts emptied, and each one is given a number.  

I really liked McKenzie's last book (I'll Never Tell), but this one didn't work as well for me.  Yes, the suspense was intense as worry for Jessica One increases, and yes, it is slick and manipulative, and yes, the grand twist was a surprise...and yet....  

Read in February.  Blog review scheduled for May 18.

NetGalley/Lake Union Publishing
Suspense.  June 9, 2020.  Print length:  355 pages.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Favorite Recent ARCs

The following are all NetGalley ARCs, not yet published, but I liked them all and have two reviews scheduled for Aug. 21.

Ann Cleeves latest Vera book is one of my favorites.  There are a couple of changes that I liked.  spoiler:  Not so much emphasis on Vera's weight and a change in Holly.  Other than those two things, The Darkest Evening has the well-developed characters and clever plotting one expects from Cleeves.  (Sept. 8, 2020)

I loved the Ariana Franklin series about Adelia Aguilar, known as The Mistress of Death for her medical and investigative skills.  The books were set during the reign of Henry II and were fascinating historical mysteries.  Ariana Franklin was the pen name of Diana Norman, and after her death, her daughter Samantha finished Death and the Maiden.  A pleasure!  I hope Samantha Norman will continue the series with focus on Allie, Adelia and Rowley's daughter.  (Oct. 20, 2020)

One by One by Ruth Ware may make you recall Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.  A ski chalet, two likable caretaker/hosts, a group of tech company guests.  As the guests are stranded by an avalanche and as their numbers diminish, survival becomes tricky.  (Sept. 8, 2020)

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Benefits of Science Fiction and Fantasy

 As a confirmed fan of science fiction and fantasy, I enjoyed and agreed with the following article.

Science Fiction Builds Resiliency in Young Readers

Some interesting excerpts from the article:

*A 2016 article in Social and Personality Psychology Compass, a scholarly journal, argues that “connecting to story worlds involves a process of ‘dual empathy,‘ simultaneously engaging in intense personal processing of challenging issues, while ‘feeling through’ characters, both of which produce benefits.”

*Reading science fiction and fantasy can help readers make sense of the world. Rather than limiting readers’ capacity to deal with reality, exposure to outside-the-box creative stories may expand their ability to engage reality based on science.

*Science fiction and fantasy do not need to provide a mirror image of reality in order to offer compelling stories about serious social and political issues. The fact that the setting or characters are extraordinary may be precisely why they are powerful and where their value lies.

*Let them read science fiction. In it, young people can see themselves – coping, surviving and learning lessons – that may enable them to create their own strategies for resilience.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Gone to Darkness by Barbara Nickless

Gone to Darkness by Barbara Nickless is the 4th book in the Sydney Parnell and her K9 partner Clyde series.  I saw it recommended on someone's blog, but can't remember whose.  Anyway, I'm glad I gave it a try!

Although there are references to previous books, Gone to Darkness worked just fine as a standalone.  

An Iraq war veteran, Sydney Parnell and Clyde, a Belgian Malinois,  worked with the railroad police in the earlier books, but have just joined the Denver Homicide Squad.  She has a new partner in Detective Len Bandoni, a weathered veteran of the force.

When Sydney gets a call-out from a colleague in her former unit with the railroad police, she has a personal reason to reply to her friend.  When she arrives on the scene and finally locates him, Heinrich is unconscious from a blow to the head.  When he comes around, he remembers little about what happened.

Sydney and Clyde do a preliminary search of the area to see if Sydney can determine more about what happened.  She discovers what appears to be a small makeshift shrine and a bit of bloody chiffon.

With the second sense of a war veteran, Sydney is certain there is a body involved--but where?  

 Sydney, Clyde, and Bandoni find themselves in an investigation that gets deadlier and more threatening.  Well-written and suspenseful, the plot involves Incels (Involuntary Celibates) and the Manosphere.  

The only thing I didn't like was the prologue.  Too many books begin with a prologue now and sometimes they work.  For me personally, this is the kind that doesn't work because it gives too much away.  Aside from my dislike of the prologue, the characters, police procedural, and narrative kept me riveted .  I will most definitely be looking for the previous books in the series.

Read in April.  Blog review scheduled for May 10.

NetGalley/Thomas & Mercer
Crime/Police Procedural.  June 2, 2020.  Print length:  364 pages.
I found and read all the previous books and reviewed them before this post was scheduled to post.  I can't wait for the next books in the series.

Saturday, May 09, 2020

Gallows Court and Mortmain Hall by Martin Edwards

In 2016, I read and thoroughly enjoyed Martin Edward's The Golden Age of Murder.  It was an enlightening account of the best known writers during the Golden Age of Detective Fiction--Christie, Sayers, and Allingham,  But it was also about the Detection Club formed in 1930 by the best crime writers of the period and still in existence today.

For anyone who loves the authors (and their characters) of the time, The Golden Age of Murder is a rewarding experience.

When NetGalley offered Mortmain Hall by Edwards, I requested and received it, but decided to read Gallows Court first.  

A revenge novel with an interesting premise, Gallows Court introduces Rachel Savernake, the Truemans, and Jacob Flint.   Rachel is the daughter of the notorious Judge Savernake and grew up isolated on Gaunt Island with the Truemans (Hetty, Clffi, and Martha) as servants and friends.  She has a mind for murder, but her intentions are ambiguous and Rachel is a cold and enigmatic character.

Jacob Flint, a crime reporter, is drawn into the mystery as he looks for a scoop.

More complicated than complex, there are plenty of twists and turns.

There were parts I enjoyed and parts that seemed far more confusing than necessary.

Mystery/Crime.  2018.  Print length:  368 pages.

Mortmain Hall also has multiple threads and multiple characters.  The threads are tied together at the end, but the narrative  is disjointed, skipping around from one seemingly unconnected crime to another.

The characters have little depth, which is not atypical in Golden Age Detective novels, but usually there is something likable about the main characters and a hint of more in their personalities.  Rachel remains distant, aloof, detached from the other characters (with the exception of the Truemans) and undisturbed by the many deaths.

The events are often disconnected, and only at the end are the links all untangled.  There are hints, some obvious, others subtle, but still a stretch of the imagination.

Despite Martin Edward's love of the time period and the novels of the Golden Age, neither book was as entertaining as I had hoped.

NetGalley/Poisoned Pen Press
Detective/Crime.  April 2, 2020.  

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Until It's Over by Nicci French

I recently received Until It's Over from NetGalley.  I like Nicci French and have read several of the husband and wife team's books.  When I started reading it, I was surprised that it felt so familiar.  The first part was pretty good, but Part II was much less so...and repetitive as a character recounts the same events from a different perspective.  After I finished, I noted that the book was first published in 2007, and sure enough, I read it in 2010.  New cover and republished , but I read it about 1500 books ago,  I didn't remember enough to know what happened, but just enough that it seemed familiar. 

Anyway, it isn't the best of this team's offerings.  I've liked a number of their stand-alones, but my favorites are their Frida Kline books.

NetGalley/Harper Collins
Mystery/Thriller.  2007, 2020.  Print length:  376 pages.

 I have several book reviews scheduled:  Shadows of the Dead by Spencer Kope, An Inconvenient Woman by Stephanie Buelens, You Can't Catch Me by Catherine McKenzie, Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle.  As much as I love NetGalley, it is frustrating to get the books so far in advance of publication.  It is so easy to delay writing a post when the book won't be published for months.  

Such an irony that one of my 2020 goals was to get out more.  Now, I'm lucky to be able to go pick up groceries, but I am appreciating walking in the neighborhood and checking out the flower beds and the robins searching for worms.

My big event yesterday was cleaning pollen and dust off everything on the porch, then celebrating Cinco de Mayo a little early with a margarita.  

This post on Twitter is inspiring!

(My husband does help with the dishes.  I just have to wash them again later when he does.)

Friday, May 01, 2020

What Rose Forgot by Nevada Barr and Other Stuff

Nevada Barr is best known for her Anna Pigeon mysteries, and I've enjoyed a fair number of these over the years.  What Rose Forgot, however, is a stand-alone featuring Rose Dennis, a widow in her late sixties who wakes up in a hospital gown having escaped from a memory care unit.  

It isn't the kind of mystery that you are intended to take seriously, even though there is serious intent to put Rose six feet under.  She escapes the nursing home, is recaptured, realizes she doesn't have dementia, begins stashing the drugs she's being fed, escapes again, and later breaks back in to rescue someone else.  

Who wants Rose dead and why?  With the help of her thirteen-year-old granddaughter Mel, Rose does her best to figure out the answers to these questions, but she is still weak and confused.

As Rose deals with her impaired memory, she must face the fact that even Mel had believed Rose had early onset dementia, possibly brought on by the recent death of Rose's husband Harley.  A respected artist from New Orleans, Rose had never been conventional,  but her behavior after her husband's death  was bizarre and worrisome.   

The book is full of suspense and dark humor, as attempts on Rose's life and efforts at her recapture become more intense and often comical.  The villains are one-dimensional caricatures, the conspiracies too complicated for belief, but feisty Rose and her investigation and adventures are entertaining and funny.

Rose has a particular piece of evidence after one attempt on her life, and I laughed out loud in shock and amusement when she calmly tells Eddie what she did with the evidence.   At the very least, that statement convinced Eddie that Rose wasn't just crazy, but damn scary.

Recommended by my daughter, What Rose Forgot is a satisfying romp that occupied my day!

A few books added to my list of books I want to read:

Book Ban Backfire in Alaska   I think I love this town!  Best way to combat the banning of books!  The Great Gatsby, Invisible Man  Catch-22, The Things They Carried, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings are now very popular in Palmer, Alaska. 

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Dead Stop by Barbara Nickless; Snail Mail

In the second book featuring railway cop Sydney Rose Parnell and her Belgian Malinois K-9 partner Clyde, the two again face a tricky investigation.  When Sydney gets to the site of an assumed suicide, she quickly sees problems with a suicide scenario and things become more complicated.  A woman has been murdered and her young daughter kidnapped.

The plot grows even more tragic and perplexing as more brutal murders are discovered at the woman's home. 

 Sydney is a fascinating protagonist, tough, complex, compassionate...and still haunted by her service in Iraq.  
An old rivalry may have had something to do with the murders and kidnapping and the investigation leads to decades old crimes and a twist.

I started this series with the 4th book in the series from NetGalley and that review is scheduled.  Now, I've read the first two books in the series and can't wait to start the third book!  Except that then I will be caught up and have to wait for book #5.

Book 1:  Blood on the Tracks
Book 2:  Dead Stop
Book 3:  Ambush
Book 4:  Gone to Darkness (scheduled for May 10)

Sydney and Clyde are now part of my favorite partners list.

Kindle Unlimited

Police Procedural.  2017.  Print length:  400 pages.

----Snail Mail for the Lonely-----
During lock downs across the U.S., folks who are already isolated in hospitals and nursing homes can no longer have visits even from family members for safety reasons.  

I wrote a little about this on my other blog, along with a list of several places that have requested  cards and letters for their residents.  Not only adults, but children can participate in writing letters to people who are lonely or feeling cut off from society right now.  You may even know someone who lives alone and would appreciate a handwritten communication.

Here is another article about the importance of mail for those who need to connect with the outside world:  Become a Penpal to Seniors.

And Hallmark offers free greeting cards to overcome social distancing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Split by Sharon Bolton and other stuff

I'm sorry to say that I found this latest book...a bit meh.  I've been reading and enjoying Sharon Bolton since her first books--remember Sacrifice, Awakening, and Blood Harvest, those horror books that began her career?  Then I enjoyed the Lacey Flint series.  I especially liked her stand-alone Little Black Lies.

The Split, however, was a disappointment.  After checking Goodreads, I realize that I'm one of the few who felt let down by this one.

And so it goes, as Billy Pilgrim frequently stated.  It didn't work for me, but others loved it.

NetGalley/St. Martin's Press
Psychological.  April 28, 2020.  Print length:  400 pages.


Daily schedule:  feed cats, feed birds, garden, read, do laundry, read, wonder what life will be like in a month or a year, read, skim the news, escape into a book.

A Good Thing:  Since I've begun receiving personal mail again lately (which makes me very happy), I've begun to write letters again.  It is comforting to sit and write letters to friends and family, and I love decorating my stationery and envelopes, which occupies some of my time.   

I am all for saving the USPS and enjoying one of my favorite hobbies!

Funny, but True:


My wife and I play this fun game during quarantine, it's called "Why Are You Doing It That Way?" and there are no winners

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Blood on the Tracks by Barbara Nickless

Blood on the Tracks is the first book in the Sydney Rose Parnell series.  I actually started with the 4th book (Gone to Darkness--which will be published in August), but since I like the characters--and loved Clyde, Sydney's K-9 partner--I wanted more.  So...I found the first book in the series.

One of the most interesting aspects of the series is Sydney's experience as an Iraq war veteran and Marine, and both Sydney and Clyde have some unresolved issues from the war. 

Blood on the Tracks gives a great deal of background that I didn't have when I read Gone to Darkness.  I read fine as a stand alone,  but learning more about the background was intriguing.  The chapter epigraphs are particularly thought-provoking. 

Who is Sydney Rose Parnell?  She is a Marine war veteran who still struggles with PTSD and currently, a railroad police special agent.

Who is Clyde?  Clyde is also a Marine veteran, a Belgian Malinois, and Sydney's best friend and companion.  The background information explains their connection through Doug Ayer's, Clyde's handler in Iraq.

Plot?  A young woman is brutally murdered and the suspect is the Burned Man, an Iraq war veteran with gruesome facial scars.  This creates a personal dilemma for Sydney in two separate ways--she has a connection to Elise through Nik, who has been a father figure for both Sydney and Elise and through the Burned Man, whom she recognizes from an event in Iraq.

There are two parallel plot lines, one of which peters out when when evidence points in a specific direction.  The other plot line, however, I suspect will be amplified in another book.

Some misdirection and a twist that was not exactly what I expected.  The characters are well drawn and complex; the weight of grief, death, and war is evident in Sydney's responses and in the epigraphs to each chapter; the research into the effects of war gave a sense of realism and depth.  

I found myself unable to put this down as I cheered on Sydney and Clyde, enjoyed reading about the trains and hobo population, watched Sydney deal with her mixed emotions about the Burned Man--her belief in his innocence and her fears of the event in the past becoming public knowledge.  

Kindle Unlimited.  I've already gotten the next book and started it!

Police Procedural/Suspense.  2016.  Print length:  386 pages.

Friday, April 10, 2020

The Book of Koli (Rampart Trilogy 1) by M.R. Carey

The Girl With All the Gifts and The Boy on the Bridge were books that I loved and that have stayed with me.  Now, Carey has a new trilogy, the first of which is The Book of Koli.

Koli begins by telling us that he has to start at the beginning to tell his tale.  He then recounts his life in Mythen Rood, a small village that struggles to keep safe in a post-apocalyptic world.  

At first, he is Koli Woodsmith, and describes his family, friendships, and much about how the village operates.  Then, at fifteen young people take a new name, and he becomes Koli Waiting.  Those who turn fifteen take the name Waiting as they are housed together waiting for the test that will determine whether of not they become Rampart.  Most young people desperately want to become Rampart because a Rampart can "awaken" the few pieces of tech that have survived.  The Ramparts have a rarefied place in society and are charged with the protection of the village in several ways because certain tech weapons have "wakened" to them.

The beginning is a little slow, but as Koli reveals information in his own particular order, mentioning characters and events, then saying he will get to them later, as he attempts to tell his story in a chronological frame.  Gradually the narrative picks up speed and interest until the reader is immersed in Koli's world and events.

Koli suffers a disappointment at the Testing and realizes he is not able to become a Rampart, and when this is followed by another disappointment, circumstances combine to reveal a shocking truth:  the Testing is not fair and has never been.  Koli, frustrated and angry, makes some choices that will have consequences and long-term effects.

There is an honesty to Koli's account of events.  He includes his mistakes and his shame for some of his behavior, even though he acknowledges his youth, his immaturity, and his lack of knowledge (a result of the isolation of the village).  He gives accurate descriptions of his friends and fellow villagers instead of vilifying them.  The coming-of-age element is an important part of the narrative, especially as Koli meets Ursula and Monomo, and begins what Joseph Campbell refers to as the hero's journey.

OK.  The Book of Koli was a fascinating beginning to the Rampart Trilogy, and if you have enjoyed M.R. Carey's previous books, you may find this one as intriguing and thought-provoking as The Girl With All the Gifts and The Boy on the Bridge.   I can't wait for the next one.  Recommended!

NetGalley/Orbit Books
Dystopian/Science Fiction.  April 14, 2020.  Print length:  416 pages.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Hunting November by Adriana Mather and Starting Over at Acorn Cottage by Kate Forster

Hunting November by Adriana Mather.

from description: After surviving a crash course in espionage at the mysterious Academy Absconditi, November has only one purpose: finding her missing father. Along with fellow student (and heartthrob) Ash, November follows the clues that her father left, embarking on the deadliest treasure hunt of her life.

 I hoped the second book would provide a little more depth, but it stayed surface and action oriented.  The clues and their locations were amazingly difficult and dangerous, and I found it difficult to believe a loving father would put his daughter in such situations.  My ability to suspend belief in the first book was difficult, but in this one...impossible.  Not that I was tempted to abandon it--I wanted to know what happened.

That said, the reviews on Goodreads are extremely high.

NetGalley/Random House Children's
YA/Suspense.  May 5, 2020.  Print length:  368 pages.

Oops!  Clara Maxwell discovers her boyfriend and her best friend are actually a couple.  They weren't quite ready to own up to this when Clara finds out.

In the midst of her shock, anger, and sadness, Clara buys a cottage in a remote village.  Sight unseen.  There you have it. One emotional upset followed by a financial one when Clara actually sees the cottage for the first time.

Some interesting characters, several characters with problems that need solving, and the happy ending you would expect.   

Kindle Unlimited
English Village Cozy.  March 28.   

An interesting article on The Bystander Effect by Catherine Sanderson.

According to Catherine A Sanderson, a psychology professor at Amherst College in Massachusetts and the author of The Bystander Effect, myriad complex factors make some of us bystanders and some of us heroes. These range from our self-identity to the pressure of social norms. 
Sanderson says she was inspired to write the book by both “personal and global” events: Harvey Weinstein’s sex offences, the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal, and the fact that a student at her son’s college died just two weeks into his very first semester. The student had been drinking heavily and had fallen and hit his head. Although fellow students watched over him, they didn’t call emergency services for nearly 20 hours. By which time it was too late to save him. Her book answers the question at the heart of this incident: why?

 The article encouraged my interest in the book.  It doesn't mention in the article about what happened in Germany during the rise of Hitler, but I'm sure the book covers that situation which led to normal people accepting evil behavior.

I checked with Amazon, but the book was "not available." ??? That only piqued my interest.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Killing November by Adriana Mathers and Other Stuff

I received Hunting November, a YA novel, from NetGalley.  Since it was the second novel in a series, I decided to get the first one and read it before beginning Hunting November.

Adriana Mather's Killing November is the first in the series.  When November Adley's aunt's house is broken into, her father sends her to a boarding school to keep her safe while he deals with the situation.

Academy Abscondititi is an eye-opening experience for November, not least because it appears that someone wants her dead.  It is also off the grid in what appears to be a medieval castle that has no electricity and a curriculum that focuses on physical skills like archery, poisons, knife throwing.

We all know the boarding school trope, and watching November trying to navigate this unusual and dangerous academy kept me reasonably entertained.  November needs to avoid being killed, avoid being held responsible for the murder of one of the students, and she needs to find out who she really is and why someone wants to kill her.

Now, I will proceed to Hunting November, my download from NetGalley to find out what happens next.  Right now, I'm not up to much other than a lot of  escapism.

These were the last postcards and letters I sent in early March, before we all got worried about mail transmitting the virus.

Now, it has been weeks since I've mailed anything other than a bill or two.  I miss letters--both the sending and the receiving (which has also become very occasional).   All mail entering the house receives the same treatment as packages or groceries.  I'm cautious, but grateful for those who deliver the mail, the medicines, the online necessities.  How are you feeling about mail?

Remember the Plague Doctors?

and a more DIY version