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review 2020-01-07 15:21
Josephine: Singer, Dancer, Soldier, Spy
Josephine: Singer, Dancer, Soldier, Spy - Eilidh McGinness
From a young age, Josephine Baker knew that the world owed her more than what she was given.  Born into poverty and racial segregation in Missouri, 1906, Josephine finds joy in singing, dancing and making people laugh.  However, Josephine longs for freedom and equal rights.  When a opportunity arises to dance in France, Josephine grabs it.  Arriving in France, Josephine basks in the freedom to do as she pleases, go where she pleases and love who she pleases.  Josephine embraces France, learns the language and rises as a star and cultural icon.  When Hitler's influence threatens to destroy all that Josephine loves, she knows she must act and becomes a member of the Red Cross.  Then, she is recruited as an honorable correspondent by the French Intelligence Service by Jacques Abtey, fulfilling her need to help her adopted country in a way only Josephine Baker can.
I have been a long time admirer of Josephine Baker and have read several other books about her life and impact during the war.  Josephine: Singer, Dancer, Soldier Spy focuses mainly on her time serving as an honorable correspondent with Jacques Abtey.  Throughout the story, the theme of freedom and equal rights shines through.  The writing takes several large time hops before settling in World War II.  It does take a while to get to know Josephine's character.  Once Josephine arrives in France and begins her life as a spy, the story smooths out and I was pulled into the intrigue and suspense of her missions and I could feel the influence that Josephine held over people.  I was amazed at Josephine's bravery, fortitude and ability to fight for what she believed in.  
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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text 2020-01-01 18:31
Early 2020 Buddy Reads
The Game of Kings - Dorothy Dunnett
Miss Pym Disposes - Josephine Tey

We've been talking about a number of early 2020 buddy reads!


Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey and Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett are definitely on the reading schedule. 


In addition, the Agathytes were discussing a Christie readalong, but we haven't selected a title yet. My suggestions were:


A Murder is Announced (Marple)

The Pale Horse (stand-alone/cameo with Ariadne Oliver)

Five Little Pigs (Poirot)

Ordeal by Innocence (stand-alone)


And I'm still open to other suggestions.


So, let's pick some timeframes. Who is planning to play (the more the merrier, of course), and when do you want to do it? I already have all of the books we're considering, and I have a complete collection of Christie's full-length mysteries, so I can read pretty much everything!


Should we stagger the reads over the next six weeks or so?


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review 2019-12-29 17:20
The Daughter of Time (Inspector Alan Grant #5) - Jospehine Tey
The Daughter of Time - Josephine Tey

First and foremost, I would just like to point out that I can't stand reading books out of order. I don't care if someone tells me books can be read as stand alone novels. If that were true, why would the book be included in a series to begin with?


People who know that I'm an avid historical fiction reader and that my favorite era is the Tudor-era have been telling me for ages that I need to read this book. I've had this book on my TBR for quite some times. However, I had to get around that "I have to read the other four books first" quirk. I have read the first Inspector Grant novel. I was incredibly let down. The idea that I had to read three more Grant novels before getting to the novel I really wanted to read became tiresome. This proved to be one of those times where maybe I just need to listen to people. 


Yesterday, Mother Nature was being especially moody in Minnesota. Law enforcement was recommending people stay put. My husband who will drive through the apocalypse even turned around and didn't go to work. That means it was bad. It wasn't the usual December dumping of a foot of snow. It was two to three inches of solid ice that had most of the state turned into a skating rink. There's a rather comical video of a school bus sliding sideways down a hill. 


The Daughter of Time was the perfect book to keep me entertained yesterday. My children certainly didn't need me. They got LEGOs for Christmas. I figure I have three more days before they are complaining about being bored. By that time, they should be back in school. 


Anyway. I can't remember the last time I finished a book in one sitting. This book was absolutely enthralling. At times it felt more like a play than a novel. I enjoyed the banter Grant had with all the players. I have read a few reviews were people were turned off by his level of snark. I had zero problems with it. It actually made things more enjoyable. His rant about Mary, Queen of Scots had me rolling. 


Tey's theory about the fate of the Princes in the Tower was hardly new for me. I still enjoyed the manner in which she presented it. The argument was compelling. If I didn't already have my own thoughts about what happened, I could easily be convinced to join her side. My book also included a hand written afterwords stating that Richard III was actually found innocent in 1984. I did not know that Richard III had ever been brought to "trial". I would have thought if anything, this would have occurred after his remains had been found. For anyone interested in seeing the trial play out, you can watch it here - http://www.josephinetey.net/Trial-of-King-Richard-III.html Minnesotans are being told to stay home again today. At least I have something to do now. 


Do I think this was the greatest crime novel every written? No. Mainly because I don't view it as a traditional crime novel. It's more a scholarly debate than anything else. Was it worth breaking my series rule for? 100%. Just don't expect me to make a habit of it. 

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text 2019-11-30 23:37
24 Festive Tasks: Door 12 - St. Andrew's Day: Task 1
The Complete Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle
Kidnapped - Robert Louis Stevenson,David Rintoul
Rebus's Scotland: A Personal Journey - Ian Rankin
The Daughter Of Time - Josephine Tey
Out of Bounds - Val McDermid
The Blackhouse - Peter May

Six favorite Scottish writers:


Arthur Conan Doyle: Elementary.


Robert Louis Stevenson: For Kidnapped alone -- though his Edinburgh Picturesque Notes, even 150 years after their first publication, remain one of the best portraits of Edinburgh you'll ever read, and his short stories are right up there with the best of them.


Ian Rankin: The man who made Edinburgh a character in his novels unlike any other, to the point of making you feel you'd know your way around even if you never actually get to visit.


Josephine Tey: In the space of a mere 200 pages or so, she revolutionized modernity's perception of Richard III.  Alas, she only wrote a handful of novels and plays and I've yet to explore even all of those, but what I've read of her, I like enormously.


Val McDermid: Tough, no-nonsense crime fiction featuring strong, independent women investigators; including and in particular the Karen Pirie series (also (chiefly) set in Edinburgh).


Peter May: Nobody captures the Western Highlands and the Hebrides like him -- particularly the stark, windswept beauty of Harris and Lewis.


(Task: Tell us: Who is your favorite Scottish (or Scots-born / -descendant) writer?)


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text 2019-11-02 16:01
Reading progress update: I've read 171 out of 246 pages.
A Shilling for Candles - Josephine Tey

Jammy consigned them all to perdition, and went out to find a tobacconist who kept his brand of cigarettes. What did the Yard want to take it like that for?

Everyone knew that what you wrote in a paper was just eye-wash. When it wasn’t bilge-water. If you stopped being dramatic over little tuppenny no-account things, people might begin to suspect that they were no-account, and then they’d stop buying papers.

And where would the Press barons, and Jammy, and a lot of innocent shareholders be then? You’d got to provide emotions for all those moribund wage-earners who were too tired or too dumb to feel anything on their own behalf. If you couldn’t freeze their blood, then you could sell them a good sob or two.

That story about Clay’s early days in the factory had been pure jam—even if that horse-faced dame had led him up the garden about knowing Chris, blast her. But you couldn’t always rise to thrills or sobs, and if there was one emotion that the British public loved to wallow in it was being righteously indignant. So he, Jammy, had provided a wallow for them. The Yard knew quite well that tomorrow all these indignant people wouldn’t remember a thing about it, so what the hell! What was there to get sore about?

That “hounding innocents to death” was just a phrase. Practically a cliché, it was. Nothing in that to make a sensible person touchy. 

A lesson in journalism. Or not.

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