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review 2017-09-22 14:48
No Country for Old Men - Cormac McCarthy

Overall, an interesting book.

It's good to know going in that McCarthy does not use quotations in this book. If you go in without knowing that, you might feel some resentment toward him. For the most part, the reader knows what's going on despite the lack of proper grammar. There were a few times I had to go back to figure out who said what, but in general, you can figure it out by what they say. The text jumps around a lot, which adds to the confusion, but for the most part you can figure out what's going on.

Plot-wise, this book was fantastic. The first three-fourths of the book had me reading like crazy to know what happened next. I don't really like crime stuff all that much, but this one was written in such an interesting way that it worked for me.

Then something big happens about three-fourths of the way in and the rest of the book is filled with a lot of symbolism and philosophizing. This in itself wasn't bad, but again, that resentment crept in and I was a little annoyed with the anticlimactic ending.

I have not seen the movie and had little knowledge of the plot going in, so I had no idea what to expect. There is definitely a lot going on in this book so if you want a book to read in order to relax, I would choose a different one. This was involves too much brain power and critical thinking. Again, not bad, but you definitely have to be in the right mood for it.

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review 2017-09-18 22:49
Finally Allowed on the Computer!
No Nest for the Wicket - Donna Andrews
For Home And Country: A Civil War Scrapbook - Norman Bolotin

Sorry, I know they are different genres and different uses, but this is the first time in 5 days I have been allowed on the computer! We have 3 computers and 5 people and someone is always on the computer and I hate doing updates on a tablet or phone, so I have been waiting for a computer to be vacated so I could get on and make updates. 


Since I finished the Civil War book first, I will start there. This is another book that I got for school use. It was a really good read and full of some interesting facts, that I will be using when I lecture on the Civil War (tomorrow). The girls are not going to be happy, but there is a test at the end of this study grouping. This book was full of names, dates, and facts that they may not be aware of, for instance, our current army is uniform in looks and dress, while Revolutionary to Civil War forces were mixed and matched adding problems to the fight, attacking their own sides. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for information on the Civil War or Wars in general. 


I finished "No Nest for the Wicket" by Donna Andrews today. I love her books and this book is no exception. I reread this book because she had a new book come out in August and another coming out in time for Christmas. Her books are full of words that are fun to use in vocabulary tests (yep, my kids were groaning as I would say, "Oooooh, here is another word!" 


In this story, Meg's family member referred to as Mrs. Fenniman, reads about a new sport, Xtreme Croquet. She loves croquet and loves the idea of playing Xtreme Croquet. With the help of Meg's family, her dad getting the farmers to let them use their land, and Mrs. Fenniman posts that they will be having a competition and opens it to anyone who wants to play. A team of college boys comes to play and "The Dames," members of the Historical Society and another group from town with "The Clones" and Meg's family team are playing. As they play, the competition is ruthless and Meg's ball is hit into some briars and she finds the body of a woman, no one admits to knowing. When they find out who she is and where she is from, it becomes apparent that many of the competitors are lying. Meg tries to find out who really did the deed and stumbles across another mystery and learns the truth about the Pruitts that make them appear to be less than they are, because of a prank from some college kids in the 1950's. 



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review 2017-09-13 16:57
A fantasy tale about a magic talking sword – in Texas!
God Country - Donny Cates God Country - Donny Cates



Emmet has Alzeimer's disease and his family find him hard work until he comes into possession of Valofax, a talking huge sword which removes the disease. Gods and demons try to recover the sword and mayhem and plenty of violent action ensue. A final confrontation with the main god resolves the situation once and for all.


With plenty of original ideas, this comic collection is well-written and clearly illustrated. It is well worth a look as it is entertaining and engaging.



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review 2017-09-13 15:48
Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey
Brat Farrar - Josephine Tey

This book has popped up on my radar screen several times - when I started it, I wasn't entirely sure where it might fit into Halloween bingo, but figured that I would be able to find someplace to slot it. After finishing, it fits into Amateur Sleuth, Murder Most Foul, Country House Mystery and Terrifying Women.


Those preliminaries out of the way, this was a really good book. It relies on the trope of the "prodigal son" or the "missing heir restored," but puts an interesting twist on that theme. Also, more generally, the writing is sublime. 


We initially meet Brat Farrar when he is being persuaded to impersonate the missing Ashby heir, Patrick, who seems to have committed suicide by walking into the sea at the age of 13. A body was recovered and buried, but it was so badly decomposed that no identification could be made. Brat bears an uncanny resemblance to the missing Patrick, whose twin Simon has inherited Latchetts, the country manor seat of the Ashby's, in his stead.


As the story unfolds, Brat is accepted into the Ashby family and we are introduced to his new relations: Aunt Bee, the spinster aunt who has single-handedly saved the family from financial ruin by building up its fortunes with a horse breeding program, Simon, Brat's "twin," a brash 20 year old who has been superceded by the return of "Patrick," and who has seemingly accepted this with such equanimity, Eleanor, the sensible 18 year old cousin, and yet another pair of twins, Jane and Ruth, who are as different as two sides of the same coin. The domestic details of the family are doled out in a way that is both soothing and convincing. 


However, it becomes clear early on that something is rotten in Denmark, and the tension continues to ratchet up between Brat and Simon. 


Simon asks, "'Who are you?'
Brat sat looking at him for a long time.
'Don't you recognize me?'
'No. Who are you?'


Tey's ability to build suspense is incredible, and by the end of the book, I was reading as quickly as possible to get to the end of the book and learn the truth. In fact, I was reading so fast that I really need to go back and re-read the last two chapters to make sure I entirely understand the resolution of the book!


Highly recommended as an outstanding example of vintage crime fiction - the domestic details are perfectly rendered, the tension is built with unerring precision and the ending is startling but doesn't come out of left field.

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review 2017-09-12 12:54
The Revenant of Thraxton Hall - Vaughn Entwhistle

Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde alongside a European Count, a medium with pophyria, Daniel Dunglas Home and several other members of the Society for Psychical Research attend a seance weekend at Thraxton Hall, which is apparently haunted and Lady Hope Thraxton has had a vision that she will die.  Doyle wants to leave London to escape his readers who currently hate him because he killed off Holmes and takes the opportunity to escape London and his dying wife and embroil himself in a mystery.  Then things take a twist with a murder, and it's not who everyone expects.


Wilde was the more interesting character but a little overblown.  It wasn't a bad read but it felt like the story had to fit the characters used rather being a good plot in itself and might have been better if the author had made his own characters up.  


Falls into Gothic, Country House Mystery, supernatural, ghosts, Haunted Houses, Amateur Sleuth and there's a locked room mystery also.  I'm going to use Country House Mystery.

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