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text 2017-06-04 08:38
Mopping up
Skendleby - Nick Brown
All of a Winter's Night - Phil Rickman

So far, I'm not doing too badly with my resolution to finish some of those books I started but never got more than a quarter of the way through. Just four days in and already two books finished. Don't think I'll manage to keep this up but we'll see. It's amazing what you can achieve on a sleepless night.

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text 2017-05-25 00:50
My canon: the little house years
Little House in the Big Woods - Laura Ingalls Wilder,Garth Williams
Little House on the Prairie - Laura Ingalls Wilder,Garth Williams
On the Banks of Plum Creek - Laura Ingalls Wilder,Garth Williams
By the Shores of Silver Lake - Laura Ingalls Wilder,Garth Williams
The Long Winter - Laura Ingalls Wilder,Garth Williams

When you are a reader it's possible to mark your life in books. There are those books that are so immutably connected to a prior time and place that opening the book is like time-travel - a way to be your younger self once again.


I could list the books that do this for me, although I would always add to the list as the thought occurred to me: A Little Princess, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, A Wrinkle in Time, From the Mixed of Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Anna Karenina, Tales of the City, More Tales of the City, The Anna Papers, Charms for the Easy Life. Sooner or later, I will tell you about all of those books. And many, many more.


But today, I'm going to talk about Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Little House books, which I read into tatters. I was a bookish girl, and I still remember the Christmas that I was 7, in the third grade. We were living in a house in Omaha, Nebraska, on Hickory Street. Is there any street name that feels more Americana than a street named after a tree? My husband grew up on Birch Street. I lived on Hickory Street for a short time, and while I lived on Hickory Street, I woke up one Christmas morning, and ran downstairs and found the complete series under the tree for me.


The covers were the gingham edged version, I think. Although, I suppose I could be wrong about that because I no longer have my childhood editions. I read them into shreds, and they disappeared somewhere along the way. I own the gingham edged editions because I bought them when my daughter was small, hoping that she would love them as I did. She didn't, but I've unequivocally gotten my money's worth, because I've read them all, more than once. 


These might have been the first books that I truly loved. I devoured the first book, laying on my back under the tree on Christmas Day, watching the Christmas lights winking above me. I dragged myself out from under the tree to have Christmas dinner with my family - they wouldn't let me read during dinner, and I still remember racing through dinner, trying to be polite and conversational because all I wanted was to get back to Laura and Pa and their cabin in the Wisconsin woods, where Laura and Mary played in the attic surrounded by pumpkins and squash and the other harvested foods that would keep them fed during the long, dark, snowy winters. I can still see Garth William's illustrations in my mind's eye.


I read these books ten times. Twenty times. More times than I can count. I was always partial to the first two, and I never liked On the Banks of Plum Creek, probably because that was the year that they lived in Minnesota, and that horrible Nellie Oleson makes Laura's life so terrible.


As an adult, I am most astonished by The Long Winter, which has the most harrowing description of a town on the edge of starvation that I've ever read, although the terrible anxiety and danger is only apparent by reading between the lines. To a child, a long winter sounds like a lark, a delightful time-out-of-mind experience of endless snow days tucked in warm, in front of a fire. Only when I realized how close to death they were did I recognize the incredible courage demonstrated by Ma & Pa and the townspeople who kept themselves, their children, and their neighbors fed through a famine.


The television series premiered the same year that those books showed up under my Christmas tree. I don't connect those two things in my mind, although it seems obvious to me now that my parents gave me the books because of the series. For years, I faithfully watched every episode, laughing at Laura's antics, identifying with her enthusiasm, her heedlessness, her lack of interest in girlish things. The series ran until I was a junior in high school, long after I had left Laura behind for Ray-Bans and Tolstoy.


When I read the books now, I am that girl, all over again.

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review 2017-05-20 21:46
So if you're anything like me...
Every Breath You Take - Robert Winter

when you saw this book title the first thing that came to your mind was something like this...

"Oh can't you see
You belong to me
My poor heart aches
With every step you take"

Back in 1983 a group called 'The Police' recorded a song by the same title as this book 'Every Breath You Take' by The Police is a song about an obsessive stalker and if you go on You Tube and google 'top 10 stalker songs' at the top of that rather interesting list you'll find 'Every Breath You Take' by The Police. Now this might be surprising for some...not me, sorry that song has always made my skin crawl...seriously it's all in the lyrics. 


Anyways, my point here is that this song is very appropriate to this book. So needless to say, I didn't have to look long or hard to find a song for this book.


This was  another super awesome buddy read with my besties Josy & Christelle and made even funner with the addition of Jan & Heather and the icing on our cake we had our own personal stalker cheerleader the ever awesome Simone.


To say that this story was very different from this author's first book 'September' is a bit of an understatement and while after much consideration I have to say I did like 'September' more but that doesn't negate that I enjoyed this book. 'Every Breath You Take' is a solid mystery/thriller with a definitely romance backing it up and I love a good mystery/thriller add in some romance and I'm totally on board.


Thomas and Zachary are drawn to each other and while Thomas is clear from the the start that he doesn't do relationships...he's a one and done type of guy...at least that's what he says. He also seems to send mixed messages leaving Zach feeling more than a little confused at times. As things play out between Thomas and Zach young men are dying and the only connection the police can find is Thomas. 


I have to admit I was totally fascinated with the mystery in this one and I enjoyed it from start to finish and that's all I'm saying about that...because spoiling a mystery is just bad form. I have to admit it was the romance that fell a little bit short for me on this one. Not even because I wanted more, since given the circumstances and events that were playing out more just wouldn't have seemed realistic...nope what threw me was that there were a couple of things that happened on the romance side that just felt a little off kilter. Between Thomas and Zach, from start to finish it was consistently Thomas who acted and gave the impression of being the dominant partner in this pairing and yet we are suddenly presented with Zach as being not only dominant but rather aggressive in the bedroom.


I think if there had even been the tiniest hint of this possibility somewhere along the way it would have felt less awkward (yeah, I'm borrowing your word on this one Jan because if the shoe fits...) In general while this was only one thing it did impact an important part of the story which was the romance between Thomas and Zach. 


Aside from the mystery one of my favorite parts of this book was some of the secondary characters...we actually got to see more of Joe and Terry, who we first met in the book September and Joe...oh, what can we say about Joe...he's sweet, adorable, kind, loving...yeah, everyone should have a Joe in their life...as for Terry...well, he's got some redemption to earn so time will tell. Maybe, with any luck these two will get their own book. The other secondary character who I would just love to know more about and see get his own HEA is Thomas's friend and bar owner Randy. Randy was awesome and I really would love to see who the author thinks would be the right person for him.


There's definitely no mystery about the fact that I'm looking forward to future books from this author...mystery or romance or a combination of both matters not to me just sign me up and I'll happily read it.

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review 2017-05-17 13:05
The Winter Witch - Paula Brackston

This story of a mute (by choice) woman, Morgana, who has powers she doesn't understand, who marries a widowed drover, Cai Jenkins, and finds space for herself in the relationship, but very little space in the village he lives in. There are forces at work here and it will take all her power to keep alive and to keep Cai alive.


I enjoyed the read, the characters were interesting but the villains were a little thin.

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review 2017-05-07 20:36
Review: Clean Room
Clean Room, Vol. 1: Immaculate Conception - Gail Simone,John Davis-Hunt,Quinton Winter,Todd Klein,Jenny Frison

Not the creepiest thing I've ever read, but I will say it was a mistake to read this right before going to bed while traveling without spouse or cat.


I recall Simone talking about this on twitter when the first issue was out, and I couldn't figure out from her tweets what kind of thing it might be besides maybe horror? Turns out, yes, creeping horror, with cultists and monsters. But also badass women being total badasses.


The cult leader is a charismatic woman who survived a car not-accident as a child. The protagonist is a reporter angry and vulnerable after the suicide of her fiance trying to figure out what exactly is going on with the cult. Throw in a handful of competent women, some adorable neighbors, and a few monsters, and simmer for a long, low burning, sleep costing good time.


The writing and the art are both stellar. I'll definitely be checking out the rest of the series. From a well lit chair while holding a cat.

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