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review 2018-03-17 22:35
Six Geese A-Slaying
Six Geese A-Slaying - Donna Andrews

It is Meg and Michael's first Christmas together as a married couple and they are busily trying to get the Christmas Parade finished so they can spend it alone before celebrating with her family. In order to celebrate, they have to get the Caerphilly Holiday Parade out of their yard and off to town. They are having a Nativity, a 12 Days of Christmas, Boy Scouts, SPOUR members and many other things to celebrate along the way. But soon Eric, her nephew, and Cal, the Chief of Police's grandson, come to her to say that Santa (played by Mr. Doleson) is dead and who would kill Santa. She quickly gets the Chief on the scene and starts replacing people (the Chief who was a wise man and Santa). The parade arrives in town just before the snow can trap anyone at Meg's and she goes into town and enjoys the festivities before she and Michael return to their home. Along the way, Caroline Willner and the vet are arrested for breaking and entering and then many other things begin to happen. Who really killed Doleson and why becomes the main question. 


The story is just plain fun and full of many twists and turns as you try to figure out who is really to blame for the murder. I did have moments of questions concerning the keys that she is constantly handing to someone for some reason and the small evil one (Spike, their dog) being left locked in a cage while they might have been trapped in town. It was like they are mentioned and forgotten but then remembered on the second day when they take the dog to town with them on the off chance they are trapped in town. 

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review 2018-03-17 22:23
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling,Mary GrandPré

It is the summer before Year 6 and Harry is back at his aunt and uncle's house and he is waiting for Professor Dumbledore to come and get him to take him to the Burrow. Everyone in the wizarding world is nervous and know that he is "The Chosen One" because that is what is being printed in the Wizarding Newspaper. When he returns to Hogwarts he is treated differently and he is suspicious of Professor Snape and Malfoy. He begins to try finding out what they are up to and still go to all his classes. 


I borrowed the audio version to go with my Kindle version so I could listen to Jim Dale tell the story while I was driving (back and forth to KY and Columbus, OH). I would read the book version when I was able to sit quietly somewhere (like home after the kids were in bed). I do enjoy hearing Jim Dale tell the story he is a master at the art of storytelling and I do enjoy the Harry Potter books very much. They are kind of a mind candy. 

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review 2018-03-17 06:20
Two Wedding Crashers - Meghan Quinn

This is book #2, in the Dating By Numbers series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  For understanding of the series, I recommend reading this in order.


Beck is talked into crashing a wedding by his married friends who need a weekend alone.  He really just wants to have a hook-up of his own.  Then he spies a fellow traveler who tickled his fancy, funny bone and all.


Rylee has been struck by the worst case of writers block.  Along with a deadline, she is zooming in on what might be a career epic failure.  Her friend convinces her to crash a wedding in order to fire up her muse.  What could possibly go wrong?


This story started out with a bang!  I was laughing right away.  These characters truly had chemistry together before they even knew.  What a great addition to the series.  I give this book a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

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review 2018-03-15 17:29
Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
Pachinko - Min Jin Lee

It took me almost four months to read Pachinko. As I read, I began wondering about my slow pace. My fall semesters are busier, yes, but I still manage to finish most books in what's a timely manner for me. It certainly wasn't because I found the book hard to read in terms of comprehension or engagement. As I got closer to the end, I realized: it was because I was so invested in the characters and storytelling I had to take time to process the intense feelings the novel evoked. There are also regular gaps in time that take place between chapters where characters' situations change significantly; I needed mental space before diving into the story again. I can't think of another novel that required this sort of reading from me.


In addition to Rushdie's The Moor's Last Sigh, Pachinko has served to establish that "family sagas" can engage me, or at least when another culture is involved. Through the family portrayed here, I learned more about Korea, but it never feels like a history lesson. Everything comes from the characters. The novel also provokes thought about national and racial identity.


There were moments I dreaded, as with the return of a less sympathetic character, though not in a way that made me dislike the novel or its author. There were moments that shocked me to the point of gasping. There are many scenes that easily and vividly come to mind when I recall my reading, which I finished more than a month ago.


I would love to teach this novel. I have the feeling I may reread it some day, regardless. For me, that's a rarity, a compliment, and a sign of deep gratitude. 

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review 2018-03-14 15:00
"Open Season - Joe Pickett #1" by C J Box - quietly entertaining novel with a strong male lead.
Open Season - C.J. Box

Describing a thriller/mystery as "quietly entertaining" may seem perverse but it was the overall impression I was left with. Joe Pickett and his family are good people who work hard, try to do the right thing and be the best family they can.

Joe works as Warden in a Wyoming State Park. It's a low wage job, with long hours and many opportunities to come into conflict with your (always armed and not always sober) neighbours who object to being ticketed for hunting violations. He and his pregnant wife are raising two daughters in the small, isolated house, that comes with the job.

Things go from challenging to life-threatening when Joe gets tangled up in a mystery involving a dead man in his backyard and outfitters shot dead in their camp.

Joe is a quiet man, calm in a crisis and slow to anger. I found watching him work out what is really going on is surprisingly calming.

The thriller aspects of the book are well done. There is a real sense of menace, especially in the scenes with Joe's oldest daughter, and some very violent confrontations that are dealt with unflinchingly. There is also death and loss and poverty and corruption.

Yet at the heart of it is Joe and his family and you know they will stand strong.

I enjoyed the outdoor feel of the book, which takes the time to describe the landscape and sunshine instead of just rushing on with the plot. This is necessary to take in the sheer scale of Wyoming.

This is the start of a series of books. I'll be reaching for the next one when I want to be in the company of a good man doing difficult things as well as he can.

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