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text 2017-09-24 18:14
Reading progress update: I've read 5%.
The Moonspinners - Mary Stewart

One of my most dreaded Halloween bingo squares, because

 

  1. I didn´t enjoy and did not finish Mary Stewarts The Crystal Cave
  2. romantic suspense novels are either a hit or a miss for me, depending on how heavily the plot relies on the romance and how sympathetic I feel towards the characters. 

 

I have to say, though, that Mary Stewart has some gorgeous description of Crete in the first chapter. And she managed to make me smile:

 

Yet here was a Dane, a well-rounded, well-found Dane (and the Danes have possibly the best food in Europe), recommending the food in a Greek village taverna.

 

Yeah, I don´t think that Danes have the best food in all of Europe (personally for me this title goes to Italy). Sure they have some very nice food, they use a lot of cream while cooking and they have Bacon and the traditional Danish hot dog, both food made in heaven. But equally they have (in my opinion) the most horrible food ever, called Svensk Pølseret (which consists of potatoes, sausages, onions, cream, tomato purèe, spices):

 

[Source]

 

Just looking at this picture gives me the shivers.

 

 

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review 2017-09-23 03:38
Just Take My Heart by Mary Higgins Clark
Just Take My Heart - Mary Higgins Clark

Click Here for my thoughts on the book. 

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review 2017-09-21 17:07
Gulp
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal - Mary Roach

Several years ago, I listened to the audiobook version of Gulp.  My reaction at the time was “Fascinating, with just the right amount of yuck factor.” 

 

I re-read Gulp during the early part of September since it was picked as the first Flat Book Society read.  The chatty, anecdotal style that worked so well for the first listen, didn’t hold up as well to a (print) re-read.  The level of detail for many of the chapters seemed more appropriate for a podcast or a newspaper article than for a book, and perhaps would have been better if encountered in episodic form with a break between sections.

 

My least favorite parts were the early chapters discussing the history of Fletcherism (obsessive chewing) and the 19th century experiments on Alexis St. Martin (he of the fistulated stomach), both stories I’d previously encountered.  The book picked up a bit once Ms. Roach started talking about the Oral Processing Lab at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and other recent research into the digestive process.   I particularly liked the chapter debunking the story of Jonah and the "whale." While many find the closing chapter regarding stool transplants repugnant, as someone with a delicate digestion, I found the idea of recolonizing the digestive system fascinating.

 

If you can appreciate potty humor and are interested in a semi-random series of tidbits loosely connected to digestion, then you might want to pick up Gulp for your next audiobook or bathroom read.   

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review 2017-09-20 06:20
Fun read
Demon in Disguise (Playful Demons Book 1) - Mary Abshire

Where Abshire's other series are steeped in suspense, this one is a bit more lighthearted and fun. There is still an element of mystery and a couple of fun twists along the way as we get introduced to the world of the Playful Demons. The characters, love them or not, are interesting. I wasn't sure about Jennifer in the beginning, but she did grow on me later in the story and while I wasn't thrilled with the way Brian handled his dilemma, it made for an entertaining twist. The most interesting character, at least in my opinion, was Dominick and I really hope to see more of him in this series. He's a hoot and was so much fun to read. I have to say that one of my favorite things about this author's work, is her different take on the supernaturals and where they come from. She always paints a picture that leaves me in awe of her imagination. I can easily recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a sexy, paranormal read and the novella length makes it perfect for a quick bedtime read.

 

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review 2017-09-18 16:24
Nine Coaches Waiting / Mary Stewart
Nine Coaches Waiting (Rediscovered Classics) - Sandra Brown,Mary Stewart

Read to fill the “Romantic Suspense” square of my 2017 Halloween Bingo card.

This Bingo was a great excuse to revisit an old favourite, which only been slight worn by the passage of time. It is very much a gothic romance, with the heroine having the usual attributes—she is an orphan, she needs to pay her way in the world, and she is hired by a French family to school a young nobleman in English. The young Comte is nine years old and it takes a bit for Linda Martin to make friends with him and get him acting like a real small boy, but they manage to make the connection just before sinister things begin to happen. Has Linda been chosen because she is an orphan with no real connections in France? Will she be the scapegoat when young Philippe is killed?

Add the complication that Linda has fallen in love with Raoul, her employer’s son, who manages another large family estate. Raoul is as sophisticated as Linda is naïve, which causes much of the romantic tension, as the reader wonders whether he is serious or just playing with Linda. Stewart actually uses Cinderella imagery to reassure the reader—there is an Easter ball, of course, for which Linda sews her own dress and during which she dances with Raoul and they agree to become engaged. She has promised to visit her charge, Philippe, in “the dead of night” so he can feel included in the event, so she & Raoul take a “midnight feast” pilfered from the buffet table up to the little boy’s room. On her way up to the nursey, Linda’s shoe comes undone and she almost loses it, completing the Cinderella reference.

Nor is that the only literary reference. The book’s title comes from the poem The Revenger’s Tragedy, a tale of lust and ambition suited to the story line of Nine Coaches Waiting. Each of the chapters is referred to as a coach and Linda takes some kind of conveyance (train, car, plane) in each. The poem also includes a tempter’s list of pleasures: coaches, the palace, banquets, etc., all of which decadent indulgences may lure our heroine to overlook the attempts on her student’s life.

One of the joys of the book for me was the description of the French countryside and communities. These descriptive interludes extend the tension of both the mystery & the romance and give the reader some time to assimilate the clues and try to see the road ahead. It also gave me breathing room to assess the very whirlwind nature of the romance, something that I would usually find unrealistic & therefore off-putting (and which I never noticed as a teenager reading this novel).


I am delighted to report that I enjoyed this novel almost as much forty years later as I did when I first read it.

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