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review 2018-08-26 20:31
Paradise by the Dashboard Light by Kathryn R. Biel
Paradise by the Dashboard Light - Kathryn R. Biel

 

You always hurt the one's you love. Though unintentionally, Rio made some bad choices that complicated her life and ultimately broke her own heart. It took distance from the people that mattered most to help her see the error of her ways. Now older and wiser, she finds her heart in even more trouble when she reopens old wounds for the one that got away. Ian is her ideal guy, but his heart has always belonged to someone else. Can she survive the pain of losing more than her heart this time around? Biel has crafted a tale of battered hearts, bruised egos and second chances that reads like a tornado hunting for it's rainbow. Painful, insightful and unforgettable.

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review 2018-08-19 23:34
Women Heroes of World War II
Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue - Kathryn J. Atwood

I have always disliked that women are not as remembered as much as men who did the same thing as them in history. I do understand that women were not as empowered as they are today, but I also know that there had to be some awesome ladies who do awesome things. This book is abou those women during he Second World War.

 

I enjoyed reading this and sharing it my children. My son was really impressed by how amazing some of the women featured were and how important some of their accomplishes were. For my daughter this gave her a sort of I can do everything you can do, only better for a few days, secretly I like this, but it was slightly annoying for a few days. 

 

Highly recommended. Would be a great addition to any library. 

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review 2018-08-13 20:17
Feel the Heat
Feel The Heat (Rockford Fire Department Book 1) - Kathryn Shay

Francey (Francesca) is a firefighter (I know- a female firefighter!). Her grandpa, dad, and a brother are also firefighters. She and her crew get called out to a fire. She rescues Alex, who fell asleep at his desk. 
I like both both Francesca and Alex. Fran is a tomboy and is one of the guys. Alex sees her and is intrigued. It helps that she doesn't fawn all over him. They play at being friends and later have things they need to work out.
I liked the firefighting terms and learned a little. I thought it was realistic at how a busy, city fire department is, with the stress of the job, but also the stress it puts on the family. There is a strong secondary story-line here too with Fran's parents, Ben and Diana who divorced when she was 3. 
The fire that Alex is saved from; that was predictable and I had wondered, at first, if that would have been a suspense point. Hint- it's not. Anyway, I was right.
Points off for this: "But it was her eyes that snared him. They were huge, almost translucent and the oddest color, indigo fanning out to deep purple." This is NOT a paranormal! (Natural) purple eyes do not exist!

Ripped Bodice Bingo:  firefighters square!

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review 2018-05-18 13:12
Should come with several prescriptions / warning labels:
A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie - Kathryn Harkup

The first caveat, obviously, being "don't ever try this at home."  Most of the poisons Harkup discusses are much harder to obtain these days than in Agatha Christie's time, so for most of them the risk of being used as a murder weapon may have been mitigated in the interim, but that's not true for all of them -- belladonna, phosphorus, opiates, ricin, and thallium are still scarily easy to obtain (or distill) if you know how and where, and the story of Graham Young (aka the stepson from hell) is a chilly reminder that (1) it may not actually be a particularly wise idea to present your 11 year old son with a chemistry set for Christmas for being such a diligent student of the subject -- particularly if he has taken a dislike to your new spouse -- and (2) there are still poisons out there, thallium among them, that are but imperfectly understood and may, therefore, be misdiagnosed even today.

 

My second caveat would be to either read this book only after you've finished all of Agatha Christie's novels and short stories that are discussed here, or at least, let a significantly large enough amount of time go by between reading Harkup's book and Christie's fiction. (Obviously, if you're just reading this one for the chemistry and have no intention of picking up Christie's works at all, the story is a different one.)

 

There are exactly two instances where Harkup gives a spoiler warning for her discussion of the books by Agatha Christie that she is using as "anchors" for the poisons under discussion (morphine / Sad Cypress and ricin / Partners in Crime: The House of Lurking Death), and in both instances, my feeling is that she is using the spoiler warning chiefly because she is expressly giving away the identity of the murderer. 

 

In truth, however, several other chapters should come with a massive spoiler warning as well; not because Harkup is explicit about the murderer (she isn't), but because she gives away both the final twist and virtually every last detail of the path to its discovery.  As Harkup herself acknowledges, a considerable part of Agatha Christie's craft consists in creating elaborate sleights of hand; in misdirecting the reader's attention and in creating intricate red herrings that look damnably convincingly like the real thing.  But in several chapters of A Is for Arsenic, Harkup painstakingly unravels these sleights of hand literally down to the very last detail, making the red herrings visible for what they are, and even explaining just how Christie uses these as part of her elaborate window dressing.  The effect is the same as seeing a conjurer's trick at extreme slow motion (or having it demonstrated to you step by step) -- it completely takes away the magic.  Reading Harkup's book before those by Christie that she discusses in the chapters concerned makes you go into a later read of those mysteries not only knowing exactly what to look for and why, but also what to discard as window dressing -- the combined effect of which in more than one instance also puts you on a direct trail to uncovering the murderer.  This applies to the chapters about hemlock (Five Little Pigs, aka Murder in Retrospect -- see my corresponding status update), strychnine (The Mysterious Affair at Styles), thallium (The Pale Horse), and Veronal (Lord Edgware Dies); as well as, arguably, though perhaps to a lesser degree, to the chapter about belladonna (The Labours of Hercules: The Cretan Bull).  In fact, in at least one of these chapters

(Veronal)

(spoiler show)

she as good as discloses both the murderer and the final twist before she's ever gotten to a discussion of the drug used in the first place.

 

As a result, Harkup's book loses a half star in my rating on this basis alone, and I'm left with one of the odd entries in my library where I'm checking off the "favorite" box for a book that I'm not rating at least four stars or higher.  Because the fact is also that I immensely enjoyed Harkup's explanations just how the poisons used in Christie's novels work (and where they occur naturally / what they derive from), which has both increased my already enormous respect for Christie's chemical knowledge and the painstaking way in which she applied that knowledge in her books, and also served as fascinating background reading and a chemistry lesson that is both fun and instructive.  I just know that this is one of the books I will come back to again and again in the future, not only when revisiting Christie's catalogue but also when reading other books (mysteries and otherwise) involving poison -- from the beginning of this read, I've had repeated flashbacks to books by other writers (and I'm gratified that Harkup hat-tips at least one of them, Ngaio Marsh's Final Curtain, in her discussion of thallium, even if I'd also have liked at least a little word on the effect of the embalming procedure described Marsh); and I'm fairly certain that particularly my future mystery reads involving poisons will prompt some considerable fact-checking at the hands of A Is for Arsenic.

 

Which in turn brings us back to caveat No. 1, I suppose ... don't ever try this at home!

 

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review 2018-05-17 17:30
Gull Harbor by Kathryn Knight
Gull Harbor - Kathryn Knight

I love a good Ghost Story. This one is more of a romance then a ghost story but it is still good. The story mostly focuses on the 2nd chance romance of Claire Linden and Max Baron, the 2 main characters in the book. There is a ghost and a mystery also involved. The book doesn't have much strong language but there are several sex scenes. 

 

Kristin James is the narrator of the audiobook. She does a good job with her voices and keeps the story moving. She did keep my attention throughout the story. I did not care for her voice of Dan at all though. She did give him a good northern accent but I just did care for the tenor of his voice. 

 

Claire Linden is a medium. She gets a call from a family asking for her help. They have a very unhappy ghost and need her help. Claire goes to the small town of Gull Island MA. Not only does she make contact with the ghost in the home but also a ghost from her past. Her Ex-boyfriend Max also lives in Gull Harbor. 

 

Max Baron was given an ultimatum years ago and left Clair without an explanation. When he sees her in his small town. All the feelings that have been held at bay for years crash back in. Clair on the other hand is full of bitter resentment towards him. 

 

As Claire tries to solve the mystery of Maria the Spanish speaking ghost, there is a new mystery with a living person who wants to keep Maria's death a secret. Max and Claire are basically picking up the pieces of their relationship. But Max will have to save her or loose her forever. 

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