Tuesday, 31 October 2017

October 2017 Reading Summary

I made an effort to finish one more book this morning after my early run but I kept dozing off. I'm sure that I won't complete anymore in October. So here you go then, here is my October 2017 Reading Summary.

October 2017 Reading Summary

General Summary

                                                            October           Total
Books Read                                            11                   100
Pages Read                                           3,400              38,300

Pages Breakdown
      < 250                                                  3                     45
250 - 350                                                  5                     33
351 - 450                                                  2                     14
      > 450                                                  1                       8

Ratings
5 - star                                                      0                      10
4 - star                                                      5                      50
3 - star                                                      6                      37
2 - star                                                      0                       3

Gender
Female                                                     2                       25
Male                                                        9                       75

Genres
Fiction                                                     5                       26
Mystery                                                   4                       46
SciFi                                                        1                       24
Non-Fiction                                             1                        2
Classics                                                   0                        2

2017 Reading Challenges
I won't mention my 12 + 4 challenges anymore as I completed the last one in September. I'll just go on with my Individual Goals

Canadian Literature (4 of 5)
Nights Below Station Street by David Adams Richard (3 stars)

The Classics (Pre-1900) (2 of 4)
None read in October.

Mysteries (Cops) (18 of 25)
The Man With a Load of Mischief by Martha Grimes (4 stars)

Mysteries (Sleuths) (18 of 25)
The Crossword Murder by Nero Blanc (3 stars)
The Blue Edge of Midnight (4 stars)

Fantasy (4 of 5)
None read in October.

Horror (5 of 5)
Forever Odd by Dean Koontz (3 stars)
The Bad Seed by William March (4 stars)

Fiction (6 of 10)
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (4 stars)

SciFi (2 of 5)
None read in October.

Spies / Thrillers / Adventures (7 of 10)
A Taste for Death by Peter O'Donnell (3.5 stars)
The Car Bomb by T.V. LoCicero (4 stars)
The Wrecker by Clive Cussler (3.5 stars)

Non-Fiction (2 of 4)
Dear Fatty by Dawn French (3.5 stars)

Top Three Books in October
There were no 5-star reads in October. These were my 3 favourite. (Reviews follow the photo)

1. The Man With a Load of Mischief by Martha Grimes.












"The Man With a Load of Mischief by Martha Grimes is the first book in the Inspector Richard Jury mystery series. I've previously read 5 other books in the series but that was 3 or 4 years ago. I was glad to finally read the first book, especially glad as it introduced the core of characters who appear in many of the other books in the series (at least those that I've read)
Chief Inspector Jury of Scotland Yard has been assigned to a case in the town of Long Piddleton, where  two murders are being investigated. Both bodies have been discovered in local pubs, The Man with a Load of Mischief and The Jack and Hammer. During the course of his investigation, Jury is accompanied by his hypochondriac Sgt. Wiggins, more bodies are discovered. Jury's investigation introduces an intriguing cast of witnesses / suspects; from wealthy Melrose Plant, his precocious aunt Lady Agatha, antique dealer Marshall Trueblood, lovely poetess Vivian Rivington, and many others. I particularly enjoyed Jury's interactions with the Double children; they added a nice gentle touch to this murder mystery.
Set during the Xmas period, we get a nice feel for Jury's nature, personality and his manner of investigation. The case was intriguing and we continue to be fed new clues and information. Was the murder perpetrated by a stranger or someone local? The journey makes the solution even more enjoyable and satisfying. Having read some of the other books previously, but still many years ago, it was nice to meet those characters who appear in future books and often assist Jury with his investigations. Excellent story and mystery. Now to find book 2. The Old Fox Deceiv'd. (As an aside, if you are not aware of this, the titles of each book refer to pubs in the area of the particular mystery.) (4 stars)"

2. Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux.













"I've never seen either of the movies based on The Phantom of the Opera by French writer, Gaston Leroux. Well, in fact, I guess I've seen one, a very loose remake starring Paul Williams, The Phantom of the Paradise, but I don't know if that counts. I've once seen the musical and enjoyed it immensely.
Having said all that, I was interested in finally trying to read the book. I had found an interesting edition published in 1985 by the Dorset Press and decided to buy it.
I wasn't sure what to expect from the story when I started it. It was a bit of a slow burn at first, with a mite of difficulty getting into the flow of the translation. But once I got going and more in depth into the story, I found the story increasingly interesting. The last half moved along at breakneck pace and there was considerable tension and excitement.
The narrator of the story is researching the stories of the 'Opera Ghost' who had haunted the Paris Opera House. He persuaded the managers to maintain Box 5 for him, demanded a payment of 20,000 francs a month for his use. (why would a ghost need money, you ask? Good question). Deaths are attributed to him, an soprano in the opera loses her voice during a show and is replaced by Christine Daae, who the 'ghost' fancies. The owners sell the opera to two new managers and ensure they are aware of the conditions of keeping the 'ghost' happy. Of course, they don't believe the stories, with consequences.
Christine has another admirer, Viscount de Changy, who tries to save her from the ghost, Erik. Along with the Persian, an old acquaintance of Erik, they two must make a mad race through the cellars of the Opera in a last ditch attempt to save Christine from the ghost / Phantom of the opera. I enjoyed the story more and more as it moved along and as we discovered more about Erik and where he came from. All in all, after a bit of a slow start, it was a most enjoyable story. (4 stars)"

3. The Bad Seed by William March. "I've been reading The Bad Seed by William March as part of my October Hallowe'en horror selections. It's a book I'd not heard of. There was a movie based on the book and when I read the intro, I discovered that there was also a play. The Bad Seed was March's most well-known book and he died shortly after its publication.
Basically the story is about Rhoda Penmark and her mother Christine. They live in a town in Alabama while Richard, Christine's husband, is away in South America on business. Rhoda is a strange girl, acquisitive, seemingly without emotion. One of her schoolmates, a young boy, who won a penmanship pin that Rhoda felt she should have received, dies while the class is on a school picnic. This is the incident that starts Christine on a journey of doubt and suspicion towards her daughter. Did Rhoda kill the boy?
We also meet Christine's friends her landlady, Mrs. Breedlove, and Leroy, the irritating janitor / handyman, who has an ongoing battle of wills with Rhoda. The people surrounding Christine are all somewhat strange in their own right. Christine's voyage of discovery includes research into serial killers and she finds out things about her own past that further disturb her.
While the story is not terrifying in any right, it still has an overriding creepiness and uneasiness. It is difficult to put down as you want to discover further about Rhoda and Christine and also to find out how the story will be resolved. Very interesting and spooky. Appropriate for Hallowe'en month. (4 stars)"

Currently Reading

I'm finishing October and coincidentally starting November with the following books.

1. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.
2. A Dedicated Man by Peter Robinson.
3. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson.
4. Royal Flash by George MacDonald Fraser.

It's just about the start of November but one of my Goodread's groups has already started to look at the 2018 Reading Challenges. I've made some tentative lists and will do a BLog entry in the next couple of weeks probably looking at my possible challenges.

For now, enjoy the rest of your week and for those that take part, Happy Halloween!!

Monday, 30 October 2017

Just Finished, Currently Reading and the History / Science Excerpts

It's another lovely, fresh, sunny day in the Valley. They are calling for maybe a bit of snow on Thursday.. *shudder* I hope it waits a bit longer! I'll have to get the front yard mowed today. I spent the weekend trimming the hedge outside the front door. I hope I wasn't too rough with it. I guess we'll know in the Spring.... Anyway, on to books. I finished two books on the weekend. I would like to finish one more before the end of the month but I'm doubtful if I'll manage that.

Just Finished

1. The Blue Edge of Midnight by Jonathon King. This is the first book in the Max Freeman mystery / thriller series. My review is below.











"The Blue Edge of Midnight by Jonathon King is the first book in his Max Freeman mystery / thriller series. Freeman is an ex-Philadelphia cop who has moved to Florida to escape from an incident that happened while he was responding to an incident in Philadelphia. It resulted in the shooting of a teenager and also in Freeman being shot.
Freeman now lives in a cabin in the Everglades as far from life as he can. Unfortunately, a series of child abductions and murders forces Freeman to confront the real world as he becomes heavily involved in the murders. Someone is playing with Freeman, maybe trying to set him up. The cops are suspicious and the denizens of the byways in the Everglades are also suspicious of this stranger to their home.
Freeman, with the help of friend, lawyer Billy Manchester, Freeman digs into the murders, meets with people who live deep in the Everglades, trying to keep their lives private and to stop the interlopers who want to disrupt life in this area.
The story develops quickly, we get glimpses of Freeman's past in Philadelphia and begin to find out more about Freeman as a person. There were some moments which I found frustrating, things that Freeman did / kept secret from the police investigators, but all in all it was a tense, well-crafted story and provided an interesting view of an area of Florida that I really knew nothing about. Looking forward to finding out more about Freeman and reading other stories. (4 stars)"

The other books in the Max Freeman series are -
1. A Visible Darkness (2003)
2. Shadow Men (2004)
3. A Killing Night (2005)
4. Acts of Nature (2007)
5. Midnight Guardians (2010)
6. Don't Lose Her (2015)

2. The Wrecker by Clive Cussler. This is the 2nd book in Cussler's Isaac Bell series. Cussler has written and co-written a variety of adventure series. I've only read the 1st of this series so far. My review is below.









"Wow! I wonder if Clive Cussler gets paid by the word; or maybe because he has a co-writer for many of his books, they both feel that they need to contribute 200+ pages for each book. OK, enough kidding. Considering it's size, The Wrecker, the 2nd book in the Isaac Bell thriller / mystery series, is a page-turning thrill-ride.
Isaac Bell is the top detective in the Joseph Van Dorn Detective Agency. Van Dorn assigns Bell to catch and stop The Wrecker, an unknown enemy who seems bent on destroying the Southern Pacific Railway company owned by millionaire, Oswald Hennessy. Trains are derailed, people killed, damage to the major railway tunnel that Hennessy is trying to build through the Cascade Mountains. Bell and his team of Van Dorn agents must race against time to find out who this mysterious Wrecker is and also to save Hennessy's railway.
It's a fast-paced story, full of action (some which you just have to suspend disbelief with) that leaves you breathless and tension and thrills. Bell races from one end of the country to try to find out who the Wrecker is and to try and stop his plans. We meet his lover Marion Morgan, an intelligent, beautiful, independent woman, again as Isaac and Marion build on their relationship. We meet The Wrecker and get a peak at his plans as they develop throughout the story.
All in all, it's a fun ride, rocketing throughout the United States in the early 1900's, as the railways were trying to unite the country and the world was filled with adventure. Great stuff! (3.5 stars)"

The other books in the Isaac Bell series are -
1. The Spy (2010)
2. The Race (2011)
3. The Thief (2012)
4. The Striker (2013)
5. The Bootlegger (2014)
6. The Assassin (2015)
7. The Gangster (2016)
8. The Cutthroat (2017)

Currently Reading

I've started the following two books as my next books.

1. A Dedicated Man by Peter Robinson. This is the 2nd book in the Inspector Banks series. It's been awhile since I read the first one; unfortunately, as I enjoyed it very much. The synopsis is below.









"Near the village of Helmthorpe, Swainsdale, the body of a well-liked local historian is found half-buried under a dry-stone wall. Harry Steadman has been brutally murdered. But who would want to kill such a thoughtful, dedicated man?
Chief Inspector Alan Banks is called in to investigate and soon discovers that disturbing secrets lie behind the apparently bucolic facade. It is clear that young Sally Lamb, locked in her lover's arms on the night of the murder, knows more than she is letting on. And her knowledge could lead to danger..."

2. Royal Flash by George MacDonald Fraser. This is the 2nd book in the Flashman adventure series.











"In this second volume of The Flashman Papers, Flashman, the arch-cad and toady, matches his wits, his talents for deceit and malice, and above all his speed in evasion against the most beautiful and unscrupulous adventuress of the era. From London gaming-halls and English hunting-fields to European dungeons and throne-rooms, he is involved in a desperate succession of escapes, disguises, amours, and (when he cannot avoid them) hand-to-hand combats while the destiny of a continent rests on his broad and failing shoulders. Courtesans and prize-fighters, assassins and duellists, crowned heads and chambermaids crowd the pages of his memoirs, while old Flashy scuttles nimbly from cover to cover."

I'm still working on Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf and I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. Doubtful I'll complete either by tomorrow, but who knows. :0) If not, well they'll be my first books of November. Look forward to my end October reading update... If you want that is..

Great Historical Events

 Today's excerpt covers the year 1797.


"1797. March 4. Inauguration of John Adams as President.
No peaceful nations were to be interrupted by privateering, under penalty of $10,000 fine and 10 years imprisonment.
France, incensed at the neutrality of the United States, in their war with England, banished the U.S. minister (Mr. Pinckney) from Paris.
The treaty of alliance with France revoked by Congress, and authority given for capturing armed French vessels.
Provisions made for raising a small regular army.
First Cast Iron Plow
First cast-iron plow patented by Newbold of New Jersey. The patentee expended $30,000 in perfecting and introducing the plow, and the farmers refused to use it, alleging that it poisoned the land and promoted the growth of rocks!
Commercial Advertiser established in New York."

Science of Common Things

Today's excerpt of the wisdom of Prof. L.G. Gorton covers a variety of items including the speed of electricity.

What is the velocity of electricity? Two hundred and eighty-eight miles thousand miles per second. How can the distance a thunder storm is away be ascertained from seeing the flash? (Ed. Note. Hey! I explained my way of ascertaining this in my previous excerpt.) By counting the number of beats of the pulse from the time the flash is seen to the time the thunder is heard, and dividing by five. The answer will be in miles. (Ed. Follow-up. I think my explanation was simpler. So say I!)

My next excerpt from Prof. Gorton will talk about the atmosphere.

Have a great week!

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Just Finished, Currently Reading and some Book Buys

It's a beautiful, fresh, sunny autumn day. We're just finishing lunch, Jo's leftover lasagna and watching tennis on TV. Jay is upstairs working on shelves in Jo's new office and I'm sitting down, relaxing (what else is new) and looking over some book purchases as I write this BLog entry. Firstly a review of a book I just finished.

Just Finished

The Bad Seed by William March (1954). This book is the 3rd this month in my Horror challenge. It's not a terrifying story but suitably creepy and unsettling. My review is below.

"I've been reading The Bad Seed by William March as part of my October Hallowe'en horror selections. It's a book I'd not heard of. There was a movie based on the book and when I read the intro, I discovered that there was also a play. The Bad Seed was March's most well-known book and he died shortly after its publication.
Basically the story is about Rhoda Penmark and her mother Christine. They live in a town in Alabama while Richard, Christine's husband, is away in South America on business. Rhoda is a strange girl, acquisitive, seemingly without emotion. One of her schoolmates, a young boy, who won a penmanship pin that Rhoda felt she should have received, dies while the class is on a school picnic. This is the incident that starts Christine on a journey of doubt and suspicion towards her daughter. Did Rhoda kill the boy?
We also meet Christine's friends her landlady, Mrs. Breedlove, and Leroy, the irritating janitor / handyman, who has an ongoing battle of wills with Rhoda. The people surrounding Christine are all somewhat strange in their own right. Christine's voyage of discovery includes research into serial killers and she finds out things about her own past that further disturb her.
While the story is not terrifying in any right, it still has an overriding creepiness and creates a sense of uneasiness. It is difficult to put down as you want to discover further about Rhoda and Christine and also to find out how the story will be resolved. Very interesting and spooky. Appropriate for Hallowe'en month. (4 stars)"

Currently Reading

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. This story was the basis for a variety of films, including 1971's The Omega Man and 2007's I Am Legend. The synopsis is below for anyone who hasn't seen the movies. It'll be interesting to see how they differ from the book.

"Robert Neville may well be the only survivor of an incurable plague that has mutated every other man, woman and child into bloodthirsty, nocturnal creatures who are determined to destroy him.
By day, he scavenges for food and supplies, desperate to find any other survivors who might be out there. But all the while the infected lurk in the shadows, watching his every move, waiting for him to make a mistake..."

New Purchases

In the past two days, I've received a book order from Better World Books in the UK and also visited the biannual Rotary Club book sale. Books were on sale for 3 for $5.00 and I found 12 books that move along series that I'm enjoying. Below are the books I received in the mail and the others I purchased with their synopses. I hope some might interest you.

Better World Books

1. The Heretic's Apprentice by Ellis Peters. I now have every book in the Cadfael series. I've read 10 so far.











"In the summer of 1143 William of Lythwood returns to Shrewsbury in a coffin, his pilgrimage at last at an end. William's young attendant Elave accompanies the body and tries to secure a burial place in the grounds of the Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul despite William having been reproved for 'heretical views.' Elave, too, has evidently learned scepticism and after he drunkenly expresses heretical opinions, the mighty prelate Gerbert brings capital charges against him. The beautiful Furtunata, whom Elave adores, becomes a reluctant witness for the prosecution. When violent death follows, Sheriff Hugh Beringar turns to Brother Cadfael for help in solving the murder - but matters are complicated still further by the marvelous treasure box in Elave's care..."

2. The Devil's Cave by Martin Walker. This is the 5th book in one of my favourite mystery series, that of Bruno, Chief of Police. I enjoyed the first 4 very much.










"It's two weeks before Easter, and Satanism has reared its ugly head. A female body ha been found on a boat, bearing the ghastly signs of a black magic ritual. The victim is unknown and nobody is coming forward.
This is the last thing Bruno needs. the Chief of Police has too much on his plate as it is, mediating both a domestic abuse case and a local development proposal that seems just too good to be true.
Moreover, he has no one to share these stresses with. His dog, Gigi, is gone, as are his usual roster of ladies: Isabelle's in Paris; Pamela's in Scotland and Fabiola - despite still being in St Denis - is outright ignoring him.
But, as they say, nothing lasts forever.
And, with Balzac the basset hound and two new ladies added to the equation, Bruno soon finds himself back at his best; which is precisely where he'll need to b if he's to solve the mystery that's threatening to scar his town's reputation."

Rotary Club Book Sale Purchases

I spent $20 and bought some books from favourite series and others from series I'm still looking forward to starting, a mix of mysteries, adventures and thrillers.

1. Busman's Honeymoon (1935) by Dorothy L. Sayers. This is one of the stories featuring gentleman sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. I've read 3 so far.










"Murder is hardly the best way for Lord Peter and his bride, the famous mystery writer Harriet Vane, to start their honeymoon. It all begins when the former owner of their newly acquired estate is found quite nastily dead in the cellar. And what Lord Peter had hoped would be a very private and romantic stay in the country soon turns into a most baffling case, what with the misspelled 'notise' to the milkman and the intriguing condition of the dead man - not a spot of blood on his smashed skull and not a pence less than six hundred pounds in his pocket."

2. Murder Down Under by Arthur W. Upfield. I have yet to try this series, featuring Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte of Australia. I've enjoyed other mystery series set in Australia and am looking forward to trying this one too.









"Bony is the sort of detective who enjoys nothing better on a holiday than a little informal investigation. When he agrees to help a colleague in the matter of the disappearance of George Loftus, a farmer whose car was found wrecked near the world's longest fence in the wheat country of western Australia, he cannot immediately find evidence of the murder he suspects. Loftus's wife seems concerned about him, but his handsome hired is an enigma. It is not until Bony becomes absorbed in the second mystery of Mr. Jelly, an amateur criminologist who himself often disappears on secret business, that he finds the key to the strange goings-on in this seemingly ordinary farming community."

3. The Black Dudley Murder by Margery Allingham. This is the first book in Allingham's Inspector Campion mysteries. It was originally published in 1929 under the title The Crime at Black Dudley. I've read 5 books in the series so far.








"You are cordially invited to a weekend house party at Black Dudley Manor. While there, you will participate in a gruesome ritual, your host will be brutally murdered, you will be held hostage, and someone will interrogate you in a most unpleasant manner. But never fear! Albert Campion is a fellow guest .. and you just might survive to tell the tale."

4. The Cat Who Saw Red and 5. The Cat Who Played Brahms by Lilian Jackson Braun. I've read the first two books of this cozy mystery series featuring reporter Qwilleran and his cats Koko and Yum Yum. These are books 4 and 5 in the series.

The Cat Who Saw Red. "Something is amiss at Maus Haus. Not just the mystery of an unsolved 'suicide' which hangs over the old mansion, but something ominous in the present-day residence. When Qwilleran moves in to work on his new gastronomical assignment, strange things begin to happen. First it's a scream in the night, then a vanishing houseboy. But when his old girl friend disappears, something has to be done. Qwilleran, Koko and Yum Yum set out to solve the mystery - and find a murder!"

The Cat Who Played Brahms. "Is it just a case of summertime blues or a full-blown career crisis? Newspaper reporter Jim Qwilleran isn't sure, but he's hoping a few days in the country will help him sort out his life.
With cats, Koko and Yum Yum for company, Qwilleran heads for a cabin owned by long-time family friend, 'Aunt Fanny'. But from the moment he arrives, things turn strange. Eerie footsteps cross the roof at midnight. Local townsfolk become oddly secretive. And then, while fishing, Qwilleran hooks onto a murder mystery. Soon Qwilleran enters into a game of cat and mouse with the killer, while Koko develops a sudden and uncanny fondness for classical music."

6. The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie. A classic from Christie, the fifth Hercule Poirot mystery from 1928. I've enjoyed getting back into the Agatha Christie books the past few years.










"Bound for the Riviera, detective Hercule Poirot has boarded Le Train Bleu, an elegant, leisurely means of travel, free of intrigue. Then he meets Ruth Kettering. The American heiress - bailing out of a doomed marriage - is en route to reconcile with her former lover. But by morning, her private affairs are made public when she's found murdered in her luxury compartment. The rumor of a strange man loitering in the victim's shadow is all Poirot has to go on. Until Mrs. Kettering's secret life begins to unfold..."

7. Every Dead Thing by John Connolly.  This is the first book in a new series for me, featuring ex-cop Charlie Parker. I have found a couple of others in the series as well so am looking forward to giving it a try.









"John Connolly superbly taps into the tortured mind and gritty world of former NYPD detective Charlie 'Bird' Parker, tormented by the brutal, unsolved murders of his wife and young daughter. Driven by visions of the dead, Parker tracks a serial killer from New York City to the Deep South, and finds his buried instincts - for love, survival, and ultimately for killing - awakening as he confronts beyond imagining."

8. The Third Victim by Lisa Gardner. This is the second book in Gardner's Quincy thriller series. I read the first book, The Perfect Husband 4 or 5 years ago.










"An unspeakable act has ripped apart the idyllic town of Bakersville, Oregon, and its once-peaceful residents are demanding quick justice. But though a boy has confessed to the horrific crime, evidence shows he may not be guilty. Officer Rainie Conner, leading her first homicide investigation, stands at the center of the controversy. It's hitting too close to home, bringing back her worst nightmares, threatening to expose her secret sins. But with the boy's life at stake, she won't let anything stop her from finding the real killer.
With the help of FBI profiler Pierce Quincy, Rainie comes closer to a deadly truth than she can imagine. Because out there in the shadows a man watches her and plots his next move. He knows her He knows her secrets. He kills for sport. He's already brought death to Bakersville and forever shattered the community. But what he has really come for is Rainie - and he won't leave until he has destroyed her..."

9. Rumpole's Return by John Mortimer. I've read two books in this fun legal series. This is book is the third in the series.











"Horace Rumpole who is supposed by all and sundry to be enjoying well-earned retirement basking soggily in the Florida sun beside She Who Must be obeyed (his loving helpmate), learning to rap with strangers, has apparently hung up his wig..."

10. Last Day in Limbo and 11. The Night of Morningstar by Peter O'Donnell. I've read 4 books in this entertaining series so far. I was pleasantly surprised to find two more books in the series at the sale. They were in excellent condition. There is one more book in the series. Modesty Blaise is a larger than life heroine who gets involved in fantastic adventures with her partner, Willie Garvin.

Last Day in Limbo. "The men and women in Limbo have no hope of escape or rescue, for to the world outside they are dead. They know that when the old and failing Mistress of Limbo herself dies, their death will become a reality, for they will be destroyed.
Of all the slaves in Limbo, only Danny Chavasse nourishes a slender thread of hope, for outside he has a friend who can save him, Modesty Blaise.
Modesty, too, has been chosen as a candidate for Limbo. Only after an unsuccessful attempt to kidnap her does she and her incomparable henchman Willie Garvin find themselves alerted to Danny's plight. And so the hunt begins.
It ranges from London to Switzerland, from New York to the jungles of Guatemala, and an ancient Mayan temple where the Mistress of Limbo has commanded a bizarre sacrifice to the Old Gods. Modesty takes the only sure road to Limbo, the road of the captive, and becomes a slave herself, while Willie Garvin strikes from another direction with a surprising partner - Maude Tiller of British Intelligence.
But Willie and Modesty are together in the hour when the crisis breaks and the battle begins, the seemingly hopeless battle for survival on The Last Day in Limbo."

The Night of Morningstar. "In the Night of the Morningstar, the tenth of her adventures, Peter O'Donnell begins his story with a flashback to the last days of The Network when Modesty was about to retire, and describes the organization's final, astonishing operation before it was wound up.
It is this operation that is echoed in the present story several years later, when Modesty, with her cockney sidekick Willie Garvin, finds herself drawn into conflict with the mysterious group known as The Watchmen.
What is the purpose behind The Watchmen's seemingly random acts of killing, destruction and atrocity? What is the connection between the attempt to kill Modesty in London and to destroy San Francisco's famous Golden Gate during rush hour? In seeking to find the answer to this and many other baffling questions, Modesty and Willie face disaster when luck turns against them. On the night of Operation Morningstar, designed to bring chaos upon the Western World, they find themselves prisoners on a drillship off the Ilhas Desertas. How their resourcefulness enables them - imprisoned, sedated and unarmed - to overcome and destroy the trained army of The Watchmen, brings the story to a startling conclusion."

12. The Nightmare by Lars Kepler. I enjoyed the first book in this series, The Hypnotist but haven't tried another for a few years now. This is the 2nd book in the series so I'm looking forward to getting back into the series.









"On a late-spring night, police recover the body of a young woman from an abandoned pleasure boat drifting around the Stockholm archipelago. Her lungs are filled with brackish water, and the forensics team is sure that she drowned. Why, then, is the pleasure boat still afloat, and why are there no traces of water on her clothes or body? The next day, a man turns up dead in his state apartment in Stockholm, hanging from a lamp hook in the ceiling. All signs point to suicide, but the room has a high ceiling, and theres's not a single piece of furniture around. Detective Inspector Joona Linna begins to piece together the two mysteries, but the logistics are a mere prelude to a dizzying and dangerous course of events."


Saturday, 21 October 2017

Just Finished Reading / Just Started & a Bit of History / Science

It's been a lazy, quiet rainy Saturday, a nice relaxing day. I watched my morning footie, went out to get some dessert for today and Jo and I watched Strictly Come Dancing. A new Midsomer Murders tonight... While the dogs are relaxing after their rainy walk and supper and Jo is keeping touch with folks back home I think I'll do an update on what I've been reading and the new books I'm starting.

Just Finished

1. Nights Below Station Street by David Adams Richards. Not quite sure how much I liked this book, one of my CanLit selections. I liked that it was set in the Miramichi region of New Brunswick as I spent many years living there as a youngster. Anyway, rather than repeating myself, below is my review of the book.












"Nights Below Station Street by David Adams Richards is the first book in Canadian author Richards' Miramichi trilogy. For those who don't know, the Miramichi is a river in New Brunswick Canada that flows into the Miramichi Bay and thence into the Gulf of St Lawrence. From a personal perspective, I lived there for seven years of my youth while my father was stationed at the RCAF Base at Chatham, near the mouth of the river. So there you've got that picture in your mind now. :0))
The story tells of Joe, Rita and their children, Adele and Molly and also of their friends and acquaintances. I won't say the story is necessarily a happy one; Joe is an alcoholic with feelings of deep insecurity; Rita married Joe as a sort of last chance when she gets pregnant by another man; Adele is a teenager who loves / hates her family and friends, tries to fit in but doesn't know how; Molly is a hyper-active child. Their friends also deal with their own issues; Myhrra, trying to raise a boy; I think loves Joe but marries Vye. The old doctor, Hennessy, who can't tell his true feelings and is a curmudgeon. Ralphie, in love with Adele, but subject of her anger and trying to live up to his mother's wishes and also to be accepted by his sister, etc.
The story is a series of vignettes, lovingly crafted, with a clear picture of the people and their actions. My main problem with the story was that I found it difficult to warm to these people, but that was probably because my life experience was very different. As the story progressed, I did find myself being drawn into their lives and wanting things to work out and for them to come together. Unfortunately, the story does leave you hanging somewhat, but with maybe hope for their future. It did make me want to find the next book in the trilogy; Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace. (3 stars)"

2. The Man with a Load of Mischief by Martha Grimes. This was a most enjoyable introduction to the Chief Inspector Jury murder mystery series. Review below.










"The Man With a Load of Mischief by Martha Grimes is the first book in the Inspector Richard Jury mystery series. I've previously read 5 other books in the series but that was 3 or 4 years ago. I was glad to finally read the first book, especially glad as it introduced the core of characters who appear in many of the other books in the series (at least those that I've read)
Chief Inspector Jury of Scotland Yard has been assigned to a case in the town of Long Piddleton, where  two murders are being investigated. Both bodies have been discovered in local pubs, The Man with a Load of Mischief and The Jack and Hammer. Jury is accompanied by hypochondriac Sgt. Wiggins. During the course of his investigation, more bodies are discovered. Jury's investigation introduces an intriguing cast of witnesses / suspects; from wealthy Melrose Plant, his precocious aunt Lady Agatha, antique dealer Marshall Trueblood, lovely poetess Vivian Rivington, and many others. I particularly enjoyed Jury's interactions with the Double children; they added a nice gentle touch to this murder mystery.
The story is set during the Xmas period. As the investigation progresses, we get a nice feel for Jury's nature, personality and his manner of investigation. The case was intriguing and we continue to be fed new clues and information. Was the murder perpetrated by a stranger or someone local? The journey we travel makes the solution even more enjoyable and satisfying. Having read some of the other books previously, but still many years ago, it was nice to meet those characters who appear in future books and often assist Jury with his investigations. Excellent story and mystery. Now to find book 2. The Old Fox Deceiv'd. (As an aside, if you are not aware of this, the titles of each book refer to pubs in the area of the particular mystery.) (4 stars)"

Just Started

These are the two books I've chosen to read following the two above.

1. The Blue Edge of Midnight by Jonathon King. This is the 1st book in the Max Freeman mystery series.











"Max Freeman's old life ended on a night that will haunt him for ever. The night he killed a twelve-year old child in self-defence in a Philadelphia shootout. The night he stopped being a cop. Now he lives a solitary existence on the edge of the Florida Everglades, with a conscience that gives him no rest.
Then he finds a corpse of a child beside an ancient river and Freeman's past explodes into the present. Distrusted as an outsider by the long-time residents of the Glades, and considered a suspect by the police, he is thrust into the center of the search for a serial killer. And when another child goes missing, Freemman knows that he has no choice but to hunt down the murderer himself..."

2. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. I start this with a bit of trepidation. I've heard mixed things about Woolf's writing style, but I guess I'll have to judge for myself, eh?










"With this book Virginia Woolf broke finally with the traditional form of the English novel. Although she had not yet pushed the process as far as she later did in To the Lighthouse and The Waves, the life of the mind was already ousting inn importance the tangible reality of the external world. The reader is shown Clarissa Dalloway, the fashionable wife of a Member of Parliament - 'like a nun withdrawing' - largely through the impressions and memories within her mind and the minds of other characters. Moreover the action is contained within the limits of a single day - the day on which she is to hold an important party."

Hmm! Well, we'll see. Tonight I think I'll finish one more book, Forever Odd, by Dean Koontz, which I'm enjoying very much. But that review will be the subject of my next entry here.

Great Historical Events

In this excerpt we cover 1795 and 1796, both relatively short entries.

1795. Great opposition to the treaty with Great Britain. War imminent, but the great firmness and decision of Washington averts it. (Ed. Note. I've avoided mentioning the Great Pumpkin currently residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave for awhile now as I get mad just thinking about him, but I've got to say that I hope someone in Washington has that great firmness now to beat him down and keep the peace in the world!)
First large American glass factory built at Pittsburg.
1796. John Adams and Thos. Jefferson elected President and Vice-President.
Dec. 7 - Washington's last speech to Congress, declining further office."

Science of Common Things

In today's excerpt, Prof. L.G. Gorton discusses sound.

 What is sound? Sound is that mode of motion which is capable of affecting the auditory nerve. It is produced by the vibration of elastic substance. Why do we hear more distinctly on a damp day than we do on a dry one? Because damp air is a better conductor of sound. (Ed. Note. That's what I like about old L.G. Why waste time on a more complex explanation.) What is an echo? echo? echo?.... (I added the 2nd and 3rd echoes.. You know, because I'm a funny guy.) It is a reflected sound. How fast does sound travel in the air? About eleven hundred feet per second."

OK, we'll stop there. I don't want to overload you with historical and scientific facts. More next time. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Thursday, 19 October 2017

A Bit of History/ Science and the 2016 Birth Date Thing

I haven't finished any books since my last entry. I'm working through 4 varied books, all different and enjoyable; David Adams Richards - Nights Below Station Street; Dean Koontz's - Forever Odd; Clive Cussler's - The Wrecker and Martha Grimes' The Man with a Load of Mischief. So today I'm focusing on Treasures of Use and Beauty and then posting my final Birth Date thing.

Great Historical Events

Today's excerpt covers 1794.

1794. Great whisky rebellion in Western Pennsylvania, caused by the tax levied upon whisky. A large district in Pennsylvania, where the crops of grain were over-abundant, and no adequate market except the great Monongahela distillers, openly resisted the tax by resorting to mob law. Officials and loyal citizens were whipped, branded, tarred and feathered, and great excitement prevailed in all the Northern States. The Union was imperiled, and Washington headed an army to meet the crisis. The rebellion was soon suppressed, and law and order established.
First woolen factories and carding machines in Massachusetts.

Wayne's Great Victory

Aug. - Wayne's great victory over the Indians, under 'Little Turtle.' Gen. Anthony Wayne, or 'Mad Anthony', as he was called, on account of his reckless courage, attacked the Indians upon the Maumee, in Ohio, and by his determined and impetuous charge, he routed the whole Indian force from their favorite ground, and drove them more than two miles through thick woods and fallen timber in the course of one hour, causing the to sue for peace on the conqueror's own terms. Their confederacy was completely annihilated.
Act passed for building ships of war, which laid the foundation for the present navy system.
American vessels were prohibited from supplying slaves to any other nations.
First sewing thread ever made from cotton produced at Pawtucket, Rhode Island."

Science of Common Things

In today's excerpt, the amazing Prof. L.G. Gorton discusses the causes of thunder and the big boomers.

"What is the cause of thunder? Thunder is caused by the sudden rush of air into the vacuum which the electricity, as it darts with inconceivable velocity, leaves behind it. (Ed. Comment. So the whole gods bowling in the heavens is false... Wow! Who knew?) Why is thunder sometimes loud and continuous, and at other times broken and unequal? Because it is sometimes near, and the sound from all parts of the flash reaches us at the same instant, and at other times it is at different distances from us, and consequently all the sound does not reach us at the same time. (Ed. Comment. When I was a kid (Yes, it was a few years back!) I was told that when you see lightning flash, count 1 steamboat, 2 steamboats and when you finally hear the thunder, each steamboat was equal to one mile away. There's science for you!)

We move into the realm of sound with the next excerpt. WHAT??? SOUND!!!

 The Birth Date Thing 10 November 2016

I'm all caught up!!! Now whatever will I do next? Oh well, let's get on with it.

US Billboard #1 Single 10 November 2016

Closer by The Chainsmokers, ft Halsey. The Chainsmokers is an American DJ / production duo. Closer was their first US #1 single. The song featured American singer, Ashley Frangipane, AKA Halsey.

UK #1 Single 10 November 2016

Shout Out to My Ex by Little Mix. Little Mix is a UK pop group which was formed during the 8th series of UK's X-Factor. Shout to my Ex was their 4th UK #1 single.

New York Times #1 Fiction Best Seller 10 November 2016

Escape Clause by John Sanford. American author Sanford is known for his Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers thrillers, amongst other stories. I've read the first two Davenport thrillers and did enjoy them. Escape Clause was the 9th book in the Flowers' series.








"The first storm comes from, of all places, the Minnesota zoo. Two large, and very rare, Amur tigers have vanished from their cage, and authorities are worried sick that they’ve been stolen for their body parts. Traditional Chinese medicine prizes those parts for home remedies, and people will do extreme things to get what they need. Some of them are a great deal more extreme than others - as Virgil is about to find out.

Then there’s the home front. Virgil’s relationship with his girlfriend Frankie has been getting kind of serious, but when Frankie’s sister Sparkle moves in for the summer, the situation gets a lot more complicated. For one thing, her research into migrant workers is about to bring her up against some very violent people who emphatically do not want to be researched. For another, she thinks Virgil’s kind of cute."


Pulitzer Prize Winner 2016

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen. Viet Thanh Nguyen is an American - Vietnamese novelist. The Sympathizer was his debut novel.










"The winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as five other awards, The Sympathizer is the breakthrough novel of the year. With the pace and suspense of a thriller and prose that has been compared to Graham Greene and Saul Bellow, The Sympathizer is a sweeping epic of love and betrayal. The narrator, a communist double agent, is a “man of two minds,” a half-French, half-Vietnamese army captain who arranges to come to America after the Fall of Saigon, and while building a new life with other Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles is secretly reporting back to his communist superiors in Vietnam. The Sympathizer is a blistering exploration of identity and America, a gripping espionage novel, and a powerful story of love and friendship."

Nobel Prize Laureate 2016

Bob Dylan (USA). Robert Zimmerman, AKA Bob Dylan, is an American singer / songwriter, musician, painter and writer. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 'for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.' 

Hugo Award Winner 2016

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin.  Nora Jemisin is an American author of speculative fiction. The Fifth Season is the 1st novel in her Broken Earth series.









"Three terrible things happen in a single day.

Essun, masquerading as an ordinary schoolteacher in a quiet small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze, the empire whose innovations have been civilization's bedrock for a thousand years, collapses as its greatest city is destroyed by a madman's vengeance. And worst of all, across the heartland of the world's sole continent, a great red rift has been been torn which spews ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

But this is the Stillness, a land long familiar with struggle, and where orogenes - those who wield the power of the earth as a weapon - are feared far more than the long cold night. Essun has remembered herself, and she will have her daughter back.

She does not care if the world falls apart around her. Essun will break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.
"

Edgar Award Winner 2016

Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy.  Lori Roy is an American author from Kansas who has written 3 novels. Let Me Die in His Footsteps was her 3rd novel.









"On a dark Kentucky night in 1952, exactly halfway between her fifteenth and sixteenth birthdays, Annie Holleran crosses over into forbidden territory. It’s been that way since Joseph Carl Baine was hanged in 1936. But local superstition says that tonight Annie can see her future in the Baines’ well.

What she sees instead, there in the moonlight, is a dead woman. And suddenly the events of 1936, events that have twisted and shaped the lives of Annie and all her kin, are brought back into the present.

Juna will come home now, to finish what she started. And if Annie is to save herself, her family and this small Kentucky town, she must face the terrible reality of what happened all those years ago."


Man Booker Prize Winner 2016

The Sellout by Paul Beatty.  Paul Beatty is an American author and associate professor of literature at Columbia University. The Sellout was his fourth novel.









"Born in the "agrarian ghetto" of Dickens - on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles - the narrator of The Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians: "I'd die in the same bedroom I'd grown up in, looking up at the cracks in the stucco ceiling that've been there since '68 quake." Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father's pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family's financial woes, but when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. All that's left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral.

Fueled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town's most famous resident - the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins - he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.
"


Giller Prize Winner 2016

Do Not Say that We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien. Madeleine Thein is a Canadian novelist and short story writer from Vancouver, B.C. Do Not Say that We Have Nothing was her fifth work.









"Master storyteller Madeleine Thien takes us inside an extended family in China, showing us the lives of two successive generations - those who lived through Mao’s Cultural Revolution and their children, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square. At the center of this epic story are two young women, Marie and Ai-Ming. Through their relationship Marie strives to piece together the tale of her fractured family in present-day Vancouver, seeking answers in the fragile layers of their collective story. Her quest will unveil how Kai, her enigmatic father, a talented pianist, and Ai-Ming’s father, the shy and brilliant composer, Sparrow, along with the violin prodigy Zhuli were forced to re-imagine their artistic and private selves during China’s political campaigns and how their fates reverberate through the years with lasting consequences."

So there you go, the Birth Date feature is caught up to the present year. Not sure what I'll do next, but you'll see.. :) Take care!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Just Finished, History & Science and the Birth Date Thing.

The end of another week. Yesterday we went out to check out a house that is for sale in our neighborhood. Out of our price range but still interesting to check out. The final episode of Halt and Catch Fire was also on last night. What an excellent show it was! If you haven't seen, it's about the development of the computer industry and the internet from the perspective of 4 people who work and compete. Really great show on AMC. It should have won Emmy's. I can't understand when you see some of the shows that do win. Oh well. It's worth checking out if you want to watch an excellent dram series.

Just Finished

I finished my first horror book of October yesterday; The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. It was a slow start but once I got into it, it moved along nicely. I enjoyed a lot.









"I've never seen either of the movies based on The Phantom of the Opera by French writer, Gaston Leroux. Well, in fact, I guess I've seen one, a very loose remake starring Paul Williams, The Phantom of the Paradise, but I don't know if that counts. I've once seen the musical and enjoyed it immensely.
Having said all that, I was interested in finally trying to read the book. I had found an interesting edition published in 1985 by the Dorset Press and decided to buy it.
I wasn't sure what to expect from the story when I started it. It was a bit of a slow burn at first, with a mite of difficulty getting into the flow of the translation. But once I got going and more in depth into the story, I found the story increasingly interesting. The last half moved along at breakneck pace and there was considerable tension and excitement.
The narrator of the story is researching the stories of the 'Opera Ghost' who had haunted the Paris Opera House. He persuaded the managers to maintain Box 5 for him, demanded a payment of 20,000 francs a month for his use. (why would a ghost need money, you ask? Good question). Deaths are attributed to him, an soprano in the opera loses her voice during a show and is replaced by Christine Daae, who the 'ghost' fancies. The owners sell the opera to two new managers and ensure they are aware of the conditions of keeping the 'ghost' happy. Of course, they don't believe the stories, with consequences.
Christine has another admirer, Viscount de Changy, who tries to save her from the ghost, Erik. Along with the Persian, an old acquaintance of Erik, they two must make a mad race through the cellars of the Opera in a last ditch attempt to save Christine from the ghost / Phantom of the opera. I enjoyed the story more and more as it moved along and as we discovered more about Erik and where he came from. All in all, after a bit of a slow start, it was a most enjoyable story. (4 stars)"

Currently Reading

I've started my 2nd Horror story, the 2nd book in the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz. That would be Forever Odd. I'm enjoying so far. Koontz does have a nice way with words and story flow.









"I see dead people. But then, by God, I do something about it. Odd Thomas never asked for his special ability. He's just an ordinary guy trying to live a quiet life in the small desert town of Pico Mundo. Yet he feels an obligation to do right by his otherworldly confidants, and that's why he's won hearts on both sides of the divide between life and death. But when a childhood friend disappears, Odd discovers something worse than a dead body and embarks on a heart-stopping battle of will and wits with an enemy of exceptional cunning. In the hours to come there can be no innocent bystanders, and every sacrifice can tip the balance between despair and hope."

Great Historical Events

In today's excerpt we finish off 1793 with the invention of the cotton gin.

"Invention of the Cotton Gin

 Cotton gin invented by Whitney. A machine for separating seeds from cotton; an invention which revolutionized the cotton trade, and which added more to the wealth and commercial importance of the United States than any other invention of enterprise could have done at that time.
Yellow Fever first visited the United States at Philadelphia.
Automatic signal telegraph introduced and applied in New York.
Steam first applied to saw-mills in Pennsylvania by Gen. Bentham.
President's salary fixed at $25,000."

We move onto 1794 next excerpt with the Whiskey Rebellion, etc.

Science of Common Things

Professor L.G. Gorton highlights the dangers of thunder storms in today's excerpt.

"Why is it dangerous to stand near a tree during a thunder storm? Because the tree, being a high object and a good conductor of electricity, is very liable to form the conductor for the lightning. Why is it dangerous to be near a fire during a thunder storm? Because smoke and flame are conductors of electricity. Where is the safest place during a thunder storm? In the center of a dry room, away from all conductors of electricity. (Ed. Note. I was going to say in the next county, but I guess that would work too.)"

In the next excerpt we move from thunder storms to thunder itself. :)

The Birth Date Thing 10 November 2015

Canadian Decoration (CD)
2015 was a big year for me. I hit my sixth decade. My marriage to Jo reached its 13th year and I look forward to many, many more. Since I was now 60, my career with the Canadian military ended, after 41 years in the Regular and Reserve forces. I was one year from achieving my 2nd clasp on my Canadian Decoration; a medal we receive after 12 years of service and then receive a clasp for every ten years afterwards. But, hey, I now have a great retirement to look forward to with Jo. It's been great so far.. :0)





US Billboard #1 Single 10 November 2015

The Hills by The Weeknd. Abel Makkonen Tesfaye is a Canadian singer / songwriter from Toronto. The Hills was his first US #1 single.

UK #1 Single 10 November 2015

Hello by Adele. This is the 2nd time that English singer / songwriter has been on my Birth Date Song list, the first was in 2011 on the US charts. Hello was 3rd UK #1. It was the lead single from her 3rd album.

New York Times #1 Fiction Best Seller 10 November 2015

Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham. This is the 3rd year in a row that Grisham had the #1 best seller on my birthday.










"On the right side of the law - sort of - Sebastian Rudd is not your typical street lawyer. His office is a customized bulletproof van, complete with Wi-Fi, a bar, a small fridge, and fine leather chairs. He has no firm, no partners, and only one employee: his heavily armed driver, who also so happens to be his bodyguard, law clerk, confidant, and golf caddie. Sebastian drinks small-batch bourbon and carries a gun. He defends people other lawyers won't go near: a drug-addled, tattooed kid rumored to be in a satanic cult; a vicious crime lord on death row; a homeowner arrested for shooting at a SWAT team that mistakenly invaded his house. Why these clients? Because Sebastian believes everyone is entitled to a fair trial - even if he has to bend the law to secure one."

Pulitzer Prize Winner 2015

At the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  This was the 2nd novel by American writer Doerr.










"Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another."


Nobel Prize Laureate 2015

Svetlana Alexievich (Belarus). Alexievich is a Belorussian investigative investigator and non-fiction prose writer. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature "for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time".

Hugo Award Winner 2015

The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu











"Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision."

Edgar Award Winner 2015

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King.  The last book by King that I've read was Under the Dome. I may have to check this one out too.










"In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

Brady Hartsfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with two new, unusual allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands."


Man Booker Prize 2015

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon Jones. This was the third novel by Jamaican writer, Marlon Jones. Jones now lives in Minneapolis.










"On December 3, 1976, just before the Jamaican general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert, gunmen stormed his house, machine guns blazing. The attack nearly killed the Reggae superstar, his wife, and his manager, and injured several others. Marley would go on to perform at the free concert on December 5, but he left the country the next day, not to return for two years."

Giller Prize Winner 2015

Fifteen Dogs by AndrĂ© Alexis.  Alexis was born in Trinidad / Tobago, was raised in Ottawa, Ont and now resides in Toronto. Fifteen Dogs was his ninth novel.









"It begins in a bar, like so many strange stories. The gods Hermes and Apollo argue about what would happen if animals had human intelligence, so they make a bet that leads them to grant consciousness and language to a group of dogs staying overnight at a veterinary clinic. Suddenly capable of complex thought, the dogs escape and become a pack. They are torn between those who resist the new ways of thinking, preferring the old 'dog' ways, and those who embrace the change. The gods watch from above as the dogs venture into unfamiliar territory, as they become divided among themselves, as each struggles with new thoughts and feelings. Wily Benjy moves from home to home, Prince becomes a poet, and Majnoun forges a relationship with a kind couple that stops even the Fates in their tracks."

One more year to review and then I've got up with the present. It will be interesting to see what my birth day in November of this year brings. Have a great week!
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