Reading Oddities

Posted March 7, 2015 By Jandy

Once again I am struck how two completely different books with no real connection can suddenly have one.

I reTouchstone by Laurie R. Kingcently finished Laurie R. King‘s Touchstone. It’s an historical mystery that takes place in England in 1926. A big part of the story is the near riots and impending strike by the union workers. The coal miners are protesting longer hours in the mines with no pay increase – or even a salary decrease. The characters in the book move in and out of the crowds but the plot of the novel rests on that uprising and strike.The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

The next book I picked up was The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. This is a fantasy novel that starts in England in 1984. What’s happening in the background of the novel? While not part of the major plot, the union members are preparing for a strike. The coal workers are having troubles and there is a show of solidarity.

These are two books from two genres by two very different authors. I’m sure not too many people would pick up one, then go on to the other. But I did.

It’s 60 years later in The Bone Clocks, but the unions and worker fairness was still (again?) an unresolved issue. If I was trying to match up books, I certainly wouldn’t have chosen Touchstone with The Bone Clocks!


Cat In a Yellow Spotlight by Carole Nelson DouglasDecades ago the rock band Black and White exploded and expanded rock music. Then they imploded. The divas, French Vanilla and Chocolatte went on to decent careers, but it wasn’t the same. Now Nicki and Chantal Fontaine are mounting a Black and White reunion show at the Crystal Phoenix Hotel in Las Vegas. Like most rockers, the band members were on drugs, fought with each other, slept with each other, and finally broke up over those same problems. The Fontaines want to prevent that happening again before the reunion show. They ask Temple Barr to move in with the band at the Crystal Phoenix until the reunion show happens.

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Book Review: Stay the Night by Lynn Viehl

Posted January 29, 2015 By Jandy

Stay the Night by Lynn ViehlOver the centuries Darkyn lord Robin of Loxley has been a thief, a rogue, and a trusted friend and leader. He leads a jardin near Atlanta and has a luxury residence in the city itself. He has been a thief for hundreds of years – since his mortal life. Now he is known as the Magician. Due to his Darkyn l’attrait, he can have any woman he wants. Now he has decided he wants Chris Renshaw. Amazingly, she doesn’t seem to want him – at least not by his normal influence. She is the rare human immune to l’attrait.

Chris Renshaw is in Atlanta to catch the Magician, an art thief who has been operating for years. The FBI agent believes the man is probably in his 70s and possibly retired by now. She has arranged a special showing for an artifact she is sure the man cannot resist. Then she and her team should finally be able to catch the man responsible for her former partner’s death. She cannot let herself be sidetracked by an attractive, seductive man with a wonderful scent. She meets Rob at an Atlanta club, then walks away. His scent and feel linger and she turns to find the address he gave her before she left. Why can’t she have a fling with this man as long as he doesn’t interfere with her job?

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Book Review: Dead In the Water by Julie Smith

Posted January 4, 2015 By Jandy

Dead In the Water by Julie SmithWhen casual friend Marty Whiteheads takes Rebecca Schwartz to the Monterey Aquarium after hours, they discover a dead woman in the kelp tank. The victim was wearing Marty’s jacket and had Marty’s letter opener stabbed her. She also was the woman who was living with Marty’s ex-husband.

Rebecca becomes Marty’s lawyer and babysitter while Marty is in jail for the weekend. Keil is the son who does whatever is asked of him. Libby, his younger sister, hates everyone and always rebels. Libby’s friend, Esperanza, and Esperanza’s father, Julio Soto. Soto works at the aquarium with the two women.

Being Rebecca, she has to investigate the murder.

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Book Review: It Had to Be You by Jill Shalvis

Posted December 28, 2014 By Jandy

It Had To Be You by Jill ShalvisAli Winters discovers her boyfriend has another woman when she hears more than she wants while at the fancy evening auction he is running for a community fund drive. She finds a note in their shared house from him. He isn’t coming back and, oh yeah, the lease is up so she needs to move out.

The house’s owner comes in to find an angry, half dressed beautiful woman yelling on her phone to voice mail. Luke Hanover is a cop from San Francisco. He has escaped to Lucky Harbor to get away from a case that went wrong and a young woman was killed. The media storm vilifies the SFPD and him in particular. He blames himself her death, so tells his boss he’s taking three weeks vacation. He wants to be alone (his best friend Jack says he wants to wallow).

Instead his life is disrupted by Ali. Read more…


Book Review: The Dark Tower

Posted December 17, 2014 By Jandy

The Dark Tower by Stephen KingThe Dark Tower by Stephen King

Dark Tower VII

Roland is certain he and his ka-tet are close to the Dark Tower. First he, Eddie, Jake, Oy, and Susannah must escape New York and Maine and find each other in a land called Fedic. From there they still have two Beams that support to Dark Tower to protect. Once those are stable, they can seek their final goal of the Tower.

Susannah splits from Mia who dies when her baby is born. The baby, Mordred, is a changeling with an intense hatred for Roland, his “white father” and longing for the mad Crimson King, his “red father”. He quickly grows strong enough to be able to follow the ka-tet to Fedic, keeping hidden behind them. Even so, both Roland and Susannah can sense he is lurking out there.

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Book Review: My Real Children

Posted December 16, 2014 By Jandy

My Real Children by Jo WaltonMark – My plans have changed, Patricia. We have to get married now or never.

Trisha – Now!

Pat – Never!

Now, sixty years later, Patricia is in an extended care home with dementia. Does she have three children or four? Did she spend her summers in Italy or was she a beaten down homemaker? Is there an international moon base studying science or a Russian one with nuclear missiles pointed at its enemies? Did she serve on city council or was she devastated when her partner was injured?

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Book Review: When’s the Doctor?

Posted December 15, 2014 By Jandy

When's the Doctor? by Jorge SantillanWhere’s Waldo? Er, um, When’s the Doctor?

This brightly illustrated book is perfect for the young Doctor Who fan – like my granddaughters. It’s also fun for us adult fans. I admit I bought the book for me. But they both like the I Spy type books and will have a great time looking for the Doctor, his companions Amy and Rory, and the TARDIS on the different pages.

Jorge Santillan drew these cheerful pages using different time periods from many of the different Doctors – including the Aztecs, ancient Egypt, Metebelis III, and the TARDIS graveyard among others. Aliens of all sorts can also be found in these drawings.

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Book Review: Hidden Impact by Charles Neff

Posted December 12, 2014 By Jandy

Hidden Impact by Charles NeffCharles Neff’s Hidden Impact originates with the frontward access of the narrator’s Atlantic Airlines flight swinging out to let soggy stickiness to seep into the compartment.

Bored, khaki clad customs officials gave the narrator’s day pack and larger bag a perfunctory glance.

Not a lot had improved during the 32 years the narrator had been away.   The Immigration officer glanced at the passport, Senor James Norberg, resident of Maine, United States.  And how long will you be staying.

Mid June in Nicaragua, and his having a 90 day tourist card Norberg knew could remain in the country until the middle of September 2004 and, NO liquor, tobacco, drugs and firearms, and the former Peace Corps worker was on his way.

Hotel del Parque, the meeting place where Norberg had stayed during Peace Corps days had survived mostly intact the 1972 earthquake.  The long day of travel from Bangor, connecting flights to Boston, Miami and Managua; Norberg was all set for a decent meal, calm late afternoon and a timely bed time before setting out for La Prada, the community where he had toiled during those Peace Corps days.

Read more about this thriller…


Station Eleven by Emily St. John MandelApocalyptic and dystopic fiction has been extremely popular for the past decade or more. I enjoy the books and over the years I have read obscure, great ones (In the After), popular, good ones (The Handmaid’s Tale), okay ones (The Family Tree), and classic ones (On the Beach). Station Eleven is a lyrical apocalyptic novel.

Station Eleven is three stories – the story of a famous actor and his friends before the apocalypse, the story of a young actress twenty years after the plague that kills of 99.99% of the world’s population, and the story of a paramedic before and after the event. The book jumps back and forth between the years and the tales.

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Book Review: The Brothers Karamazov

Posted November 30, 2014 By Jandy

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoevskyIn The Brothers Karamazov the defense attorney says about the prosecuting attorney, “”Also, he goes in for rhetoric too much, and those long sentences..”

For the modern reader, that statement is one of the problems with Fyodor Dostoevsky’s work. It is extremely true of The Brothers Karamazov. This is an interesting Russian novel – or would be if abridged in about half. When the action is moving and the characters are interacting I enjoy reading The Brothers Karamazov. Then Dostoevsky goes off into philosophical discussions that go on and on and on. The worst is the religious discussion discourse Ivan Karamazov has with his younger brother Alexi about a third of the way through the novel. I was determined to read every page of this book but that was one of the times I was sorely tempted to skip ahead.

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The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire NorthOver the years of science fiction, time travel, reincarnation, and immortality has been studied in many ways. Claire North has taken the different ideas and melded them together into an interesting, intriguing adventure.

Harry August is a kalachakra. When he dies, he is reborn back at the time he was born originally. Harry was born January 1, 1919. When he died the first time, he was born again on January 1, 1919. By the time he was three to four years old he started having memories of his previous life. In his third life, Harry tried to tell someone what he was. That didn’t go well. In his fourth life Harry finally hooked up with the Cronus Club. The Cronus Club was already established back in early Egyptian times. The members are there to help each other. Once a member recovers his or her memories, that person can contact the club for assistance – perhaps a “scholarship” to a private school or some other cover.