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text 2018-12-14 09:40
24 Festive Tasks: Human Rights Day, Task #2 and 3
Grey Mask - Patricia Wentworth
The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield
Kaleidoscope - Dorothy Gilman

Task 2:  This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Find 3 books on your shelves with protagonists or other key characters who are -- or can reasonably be assumed to be -- 70 years or older.


The 3 books I found on my shelves that weren't Agatha Christie books (which is what I get for lagging behind on my tasks) that had characters over the age of 70 are purely speculative.  None of their ages could be verified for certain.  All are referred to as "senior".


Miss Maude Silver in the Patricia Wentworth series is a retired governess.  


Vida Winter is a reclusive famous author who is at the end of her life and dictating her authorised biography in The Thirteenth Tale


Madame Karitska is an older clairvoyant in Dorothy Gilman's lesser known, and shorter, mystery series.


Task 3:  The symbol of Human Rights Day is the dove, which in its incarnation as a homing pigeon is also renowned for its navigational skills. – Tell us: Did you ever get so thoroughly lost (either in the days before GPS or because GPS, for whatever reason, was of no use to you) that you wished you had a homing pigeon to guide you?


I've only been lost on the road one time that I can recall, when I worked at a job that required a lot of travel (pre map app days).  I arrived in Washington D.C. at Reagan National Airport and had to drive to Silver Springs, Maryland, which is roughly on the opposite side of D.C. from the airport.  No matter what I did, what route I took, I ended up in front of the Smithsonian Natural History museum. Every. Time.  Now, that's my favorite museum in D.C., but I was tired, and I just needed to check into the hotel - but it was as if that museum was a giant magnet that kept pulling my car back.  At one point I pulled over, (in front of the museum of course), called my boss nearly in tears of pure frustration, and told him I was never going to make it onto the project because I couldn't get away from the damn museum.  Eventually, I made it through, but it was the most frustrating driving experience I can remember.


On another project for the same company, in Montreal, a co-worker and I spent the weekend walking the city, and at one point explored the beautiful Notre-Dame-de-Neiges Cemetery - Canada's largest cemetery and the 3rd largest in North America (over 1 million occupants).  We got lost in it.  Totally, utterly, lost.  For a couple of hours, we could not find our way out; it started out hilarious and became a tiny bit worrying. Apparently, we're not the only ones; the cemetery now offers a computerised mapping service.  


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review 2016-12-28 00:00
Kaleidoscope Hearts
Kaleidoscope Hearts - Claire Contreras Llevaba tiempo retrasando la lectura de este libro, ¿por qué? La verdad es que no lo sé, a veces la pereza funciona de esta extraña manera... Aunque la verdad, creo que lo que realmente pasó es que desde que salió, las críticas eran tan buenas que me invadió ese miedo a la desilusión que siempre tengo cuando un libro que me apetece termina decepcionándome.Pero la verdad es que mis temores eran infundados porque ha sido una lectura dulce y entretenida y me ha dejado con muchas ganas de leer el segundo en esta serie (Jensen y Mía).
¿Me hubiera gustado darle cinco estrellas?por supuesto que sí, pero oye, cuatro estrellas es una muy digna puntuación, que deja claro que mis miedos eran infundados.

Ésta es una historia de amor y de segundas oportunidades que tiene varios puntos positivos:

- Oliver es maravilloso y a pesar de que en un momento Víctor le describe (muy acertadamente, he de decir) como un "serial dater" es uno encantador y tierno que no te puede caer mal para nada.

- Es fácil empatizar con nuestra heroína y eso no es tarea sencilla. Una chica independiente que lo ha pasado mal en su vida y que ahí sigue, con una sonrisa en su cara prácticamente siempre y con una bonita visión de futuro

- Los personajes secundarios merecen muchísimo la pena y espero sus libros con muchas ganas.

- Es un libro dulce y ameno, con grandes frases, que se lee rápido y a pesar de tratar la pena y la pérdida (en varios sentidos) la autora no lo hace en profundidad, regocijándose en los baches en el camino, más bien todo lo contrario. Es muy "light" y las cosas se van resolviendo de forma natural y sin muchos dramas.

Yo creo que esto último es con lo que más me quedo de libro: la historia de amor entre dos personajes que caen bastante bien. Unos protagonistas que salen victoriosos en una vida que no les dio la felicidad estando separados, y lo hacen además siendo muy buenas personas (y es algo destacable porque de verdad que son como muy filántropos ellos). Todo ello contado de forma ligera, sexy y amena.
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review 2016-09-22 00:00
Kaleidoscope - Kristen Ashley Let me first say that a kaleidoscope plays a significant role in this book. It's almost a character in itself. And everything having to do with the kaleidoscope was amazing. How Deck got it, how he felt about it, what it meant to him, what it represented, what happened to it, Deck's plans for it, the scene at the end... *sigh* It was truly special and I absolutely loved it. It was perfect.

Now for the rest...

Kristen Ashley has a horrible habit of having her female characters kidnapped. It's like, her go-to conflict. Emme got kidnapped, Nina got kidnapped, Faye got kidnapped, Lexie got kidnapped... there's probably more, but it's 5am and I've forgotten half of what I read now. It's tiresome. I read the book with this feeling of dread, just waiting for Emme to get kidnapped again. Kristen Ashley is a damn decent writer, so I'm confused as to why she constantly resorts to same thing again and again. I'm sorry, but kidnapping is not that common. Child abductions by parents? Hell yeah, that's nearly a quarter million per year in the United States alone. Adults kidnapped by their lover's enemies? Not so much. Moving on...

The threat here kinda takes a back seat and the focus is on a) mundane relationship-developing moments, and b) Emme's neurosis. There are a few scenes that feel like filler, usually sex scenes that there's no lead-in to. It's just a new scene, two days later... sexy times... then a week later, totally unrelated scene about installing windows. It was a bit weird. As for the threat, it was mostly nonexistent. The bad guy was free to cause a lot of chaos, but all he did was steal something. He was a very weak villain. I wouldn't call this a romantic suspense at all.

As for Emme's neurosis. Holy shit, this girl is fucked up. Deck tries really hard to help her, but she's just not having it. Total disconnect. Complete denial. She'll recognize how fucked up and broken her thinking is, but she makes no effort to correct it or deal with it. I had a hard time liking her. I don't like characters that are satisfied with being miserable and alone. Nobody should settle for that, much less actively campaign to stay that way. But she eventually came around. And she certainly had her moments, even before coming around.

Deck was a great character. He made a couple mistakes, tried to avoid making more. He was totally alpha, but incredibly sweet and endearing. And of course, he spoke in that same manner that Kristen Ashley has all her Colorado Mountain men speak. Half the sentence is missing... they never start a sentence with "you" or "I", they just skip it and start with a verb. It's a very odd way of speaking, but recognizable to KA novels.

If you read my reviews for Kristen Ashley's previous books in this series, the issues I have are always the same. Overuse of the same words, the same plot devices, the weird dialogue... You'd think I'd get tired of reading these books because of that, but here I am again. And I'll probably read the next book if there is one.

Overall, I liked it. It wasn't exactly what I expected, but Deck has turned out to be one of my favorite heroes in this series and the kaleidoscope part was incredibly touching. I would definitely recommend it, but I'd suggest not reading it soon after reading any other book in this series. The similarities are too obvious.
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review 2016-06-01 05:03
Kaleidoscope: The Vision Chronicles, Book 1 by Chariss Walker
Kaleidoscope (The Vision Chronicles Book 1) - Chariss K. Walker

Kaleidoscope: The Vision Chronicles, Book 1 by Chariss Walker, published by CreateSpace Direct is intriguing. It is not a stand-alone book. They are designed to be read in order. There are eight books in this series.


I gave this book five stars. There was a lot of research done to write this captivating book.

Michael James Lewis, aka Mike was a geophysicist working outside Cairo in 1998 when he was thirty. He discovered from a co-worker that he had a special gift. He had spent fifteen years denying his gift of visions.


"After a light dinner, I went to the gym for a grueling workout. It was something I did nearly every night of the week. When on a jobsite, I bought a temporary pass to the nearest gym. My body was lean and hard from the punishment I gave it, but that’s what I needed to find restful sleep."

Mike has a weekly housekeeper, Maria. He realizes there's not a lot of dirt but his living area needs attention. "As a dedicated bachelor, I’m tidy. I subscribe to the rules left over from childhood. If you open it, close it. If you break it, fix it. If you get it out, put it back, and so forth. Nevertheless, dust accumulates and any home takes on a stale odor when windows and doors remain closed for long intervals."


Here is Mike's description of his visions as he tells it to Nelson, who is the first person he ever told. "'Here it is in a nutshell: every time I close my eyes I see visions in a kaleidoscope. It is not the kaleidoscope of childhood filled with pretty-colored glass. It’s a kaleidoscope filled with black and white images of the future. It crackles and sparkles like the one I had as a kid, but rather than geometric shapes, this one shows broken images of future events. Visions that sometimes torment me. The images are reflections, not clear pictures. The visions I see are fragments, like a stained-glass window. What I see appears to use the same principle as a kaleidoscope, where several reflective surfaces are placed at an angle to one another.'"


His friend, Nelson Fitch taught Psychology at Columbia & had a clinical practice, suggested that he start keeping a journal & he did.


Mike was a confirmed bachelor but realized he missed having someone who missed him. He met Casey D'Angelo & they started a relationship. He found everything about her refreshing. Then his maid Maria found an unusual listening device inside the pillow case as she changed the bed linens.

He didn't know if it could be because he'd told Nelson about his visions or if it could be a jealous boyfriend of Casey's. Either way, it was disturbing & he contacted a friend at the FBI about it. He also had security videos installed in his home.


In a discussion with Nelson about learning to accept his 'gift' he learned: "'“It’s about acceptance. You’ve heard the analogy that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. Well, the same concept could be applied regarding denial and acceptance. Acceptance is a more natural state whereas denial requires concentrated energy.'"


I received a complimentary kindle copy from the author. That did not change my opinion for this review.


I look forward to learning more about Mike in the upcoming chronicles. He's a well developed character.The next book is Spyglass, Book 2.

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review 2016-04-23 00:00
Kaleidoscope - Kristen Ashley I really don't get why I DNF this the last time. This is pretty much a classic KA, though with a little less of her signature drama (which I miss in some of her newer books). But other than that this was really good and it kept my interest the whole time.
I especially loved the last scene with the 2 kaleidoscopes :P
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