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review 2017-01-26 15:22
Falling in Death and Love- Magnus Stanke

     This is a good suspense thriller written with an easy read style and a good deal of wit. The 1970s setting in Mallorca works very well, as do the bunch of main characters. All of who are unique enough that one has little danger of confusion. We read into a holiday romance that promises to be so much more, and then for tragic reason proves to be life changing for one and life ending for the other.

     This is a plot easily ruined by knowing too much, like so many popular films one sees a week too late. Try to avoid reading the plethora of spoiler reviews. Not easy I know. As to the question of converting this book for film medias, it would make a gift of a screen script.

     I don’t usually manage to read books in a sitting, however good they are, and I didn’t quite manage with this one, but not through lack of trying. Young readers for who the ‘70s are ancient history, and older readers put off by early pages of period ‘hippiness’, read on, you won’t be disappointed. This really is a good adrenaline rush read, not just another middle-aged author dreaming up a regretfully missed life of dope, speed, and sex in the sun. And yes, Sushi chefs really were moving in on Europe right back when baby-boomers were still young, even though we associate Japanese style cuisine more with western city life in the new millennium.

     The book is so well written, especially when one accounts for the fact that Stanke is German, and writing in a second language, English. Correct me if I’m wrong, someone, but I don’t think this book has versions in German, Spanish, or any other language, and it certainly hasn’t been translated by anyone other than the author. Stanke has both a feel for language and the skill to weave a good yarn.



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review 2016-08-15 08:16
Love's Long Road- G. D. Harper

   The plot is set in the second half of the 1970s and is so well researched and or remembered, that it gave a really genuine feeling of realism to me, one who lived through this period and even visited some of its chosen physical spaces at a close chronological age to the main character. I short, this was read by me as accurate real-life fiction. Before reviewing I took the trouble to ask the author if he/she is a contemporary of that period. I got no answer, but I was informed that the book is ‘only’ fiction.
   I am surprised by a number of negative reviews I’ve read about this book. We all have our very individual and subjective opinions. Mine is that this is an excellent read. It is very journalistic in style, deeply psychological, and is as profoundly revealing of the main character in as much that isn’t said as is. This is really strong first person writing. What are any of us prepared to reveal of ourselves, of our strongest, often unflattering, behaviours? The mixed vulnerabilities and strengths of Bobbie were totally believable to me. One of the best drawn characters was only a ghost behind the story, until the very last pages, that being the father of an early tragic boyfriend of Bobbie’s.
   For me, the book is all the better as contemporary dramatic fiction for having a strong social message. In the end, it is a book of hope, harsh, brutal, real-life hope, but hope none the less. Unlike some reviewers I see this as a profoundly moral book, a morality drawn as much from the gutters of British life as from its more wholesome features.
   It is my belief that this book deserves readers and perhaps especially ones that believe they have no dirt in their own souls. This book seems to hurt a range of readers. That suggests to me that Harper has hit some very rusty old nails right on the head. Please don’t leave it too long before you get your hammer out again, G.D. Harper, whoever you are.


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review 2016-04-27 15:15
We Are As Gods: Back to the Land in the 1970s on the Quest for a New America - Kate Daloz

It turned out to be much more specific that I was hoping for.  However, a well written book.  Recommended with reservations.

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review 2016-01-16 00:25
The Virgin Suicides

The Virgin Suicides is the third book I've read by Jeffrey Eugenides and quite possibly the one I liked the least.   While I wanted to like it because I'd heard it was a "must read" it left me somewhat deflated.


The story takes place in 1970's Detroit where five sisters commit suicide within a year of each other. After the youngest sister first has a failed attempt but then eventually succeeds the family becomes despondent and ultimately isolates themselves from the world.  Told in the voice of the adoring neighborhood teenage boys the delivery feels awkward and perhaps that is the point.  It was very frustrating for me not knowing the parents nor the sister's perspective other than what little was overheard, told to the boys or what they assumed.  It the author wanted the reader to feel like someone on the outside looking in then he succeeded perfectly, however, this left me frustrated and unable to appreciate this book.


This story left me wanting too much to be able to consider it a "good read".  I would have liked to have had a perspective from each sister and the parents in order to get a truer sense of their thoughts. It was a very different  and unique kind of story and for that I can give it three stars. This is also included book #10 in my Classics Club reading challenge as I found it on a "modern classics list".


How I acquired this book:  Half-price books

Shelf Life:  About a year and a half.

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review 2015-12-21 00:00
Desert Run
Desert Run - Marshall Thornton

Holy moly, I'm so sorry it took me so long to pick this up!

I have to admit, I had this one sitting on my Kindle for quite some time. I can't even tell you why I was hestitant to pick it up, since I pretty much loved every other book by Marshall Thornton that I read so far.

And I love his writing! His style is unique, and very distinctive. I guess, you either love it or have a problem with in every book. Me? Total fangirl. Because with him, it's like getting a box of candy. You know there will be an overall greatness to it that you came to enjoy over the years, but you never know which aspect will rock your world today.

But first things first. I would not call this a romance. Because, it really isn't. Yes, there is sex in it - MF and MM. There is also love, devotion and a GFY- aspect. Or maybe a bisexual-for-you. Doesn't matter really. Because the main focus here is not on the romance. So, if you're looking for lenghty discussions of feelings, inner monologues and struggles with sexuality, philosophy or humanity in general, look elsewhere.

Don is a fighter, he has to be after one unfortunate night in Chicago made him run from home, family and friends. He's ex-army, he's a survivor, and he is nothing but practical. And when his past is catching up with him, leaving him with a body of a sweet girl, the mob on his heels and no money to his name, he has to find a solution and fast. Enter Harlan. Perceptive and resourceful Harlan is nobody's fool, but at least he understands that desperate times call for desperate measures.

I loved their journey! In a way, Don reminded me a tiny little bit of Jack Reacher, only with a bigger conscience and a smaller ego. But the action, the adventures, the running and fighting and sheet-burning was all there. Loved it! Although the historical part didn't come through as much as for example in the Boystown Series, it still was a great backdrop to the story. It shaped the atmosphere as well as gave me the right feeling in general to thoroughly enjoy this book.

Definitely recommended!

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