Thursday, February 22, 2018

Looking for a Ship --by John McPhee

260 pages / 757 KB
5 Stars

OK, I admit it. I've yet to read anything by McPhee I don't love, and this book is no different. McPhee has the ability to take a subject of which I know absolutely nothing, and really had never thought about it, and write about it in such a manner that I'm amazed I didn't know I needed to know about citrus fruit, or geology, or looking for a ship in the U.S. Merchant Marine.

I knew the Merchant Marine existed and was surprised to learn it's on the decline. Or was in 1990 when this book was published. And also saddened.

McPhee took passage on a ship and sailed with her. He interviewed the crew, and when available, the other passengers. An absolute delight to read this book. I'd like to read a follow-up on the status of our Merchant Marine—I see the US Merchant Marine Academy is still educating accepted applicants, so that says something positive. But, are the graduates finding ships?

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to stow away on a ship and see the world, read this book first.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Housewife Assassin's Handbook (Housewife Assassin Series, Book 1) –by Josie Brown

290 pages / 4762 KB
5 Stars

Ladies, are you a stay-at-home soccer mom with a bit too much time on your hands, and bored with the daily dose of soap operas? Or are you an office worker, who would like to be a stay-at-home mom but can't afford it? If your answer to either question is some form of "Yes" then this book just may offer the solution to your predicament.

This little book is your handbook to free-lance murder and mayhem, and just chock full of helpful tidbits to maintain your dream home in suburbia, never miss your son's baseball game or daughter's recital. Our heroine, Donna Stone, begins each chapter with a household hint and how it fits in with the killing of your next mark. For instance, she explains how carpets and rugs are so important for giving the proper status/design element to your smoothly run home, how to use them to transport the body, and how to clean them so your gossipy neighbors will never know. Oh yes, she also explains how to bury the body so the cadaver dogs won't find it.

Indeed, who knew how funny murder and mayhem could be? If the idea of selling cosmetics door-to-door just doesn't appeal to you, perhaps this book will. Pour a cup of your favorite libation, settle into your favorite chair, and enjoy this book.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Piggy: Four Women Tilting at Windmills: Dames Quixote: Book 3 –by Jane Roop

Fiction / Cozy Mystery
146 Pages
5 Stars

 Once again, Jean Reeves and her three friends encounter a mystery and have only days to solve it, or one of the four wind-mill-tilting women will be destitute. And if Franny "Piggy" Gunderson becomes destitute, how will she afford the flashy clothes and fancy jewelry she is addicted to? Not to mention the boy toys her late husband's investments pay for.

It's nice to read about four women my age who are still alive and kicking and solving mysteries. These women are believable, and indeed, they are women I'd be honored to know and have cocktails with. The are proof that life doesn't end with menopause.

Check out my earlier review: 

The Samurai's Garden --by Gail Tsukiyama

224 pages
5 Stars

This is a feel-good kind of book, and an interesting glimpse into a far-away culture in pre-WWII Japan.

Stephen, a Chinese teenager raised in Hong Kong and schooled in China is sent to the family beach home in Japan to recover from his tuberculosis. All the young local men have been called up to serve in the Emperor's army, so Stephen is pretty much alone in the house with the caretaker/gardener.

This is a coming of age story, and a feel-good novel, not to mention historical. There is a love interest, doomed by a leprosy outbreak in the village, and the cultural aversion to it.

Had I started this book in the morning, it would have been a one-sit read, as it was, I started it at night, and therefore made it a two-sit read. I found it well written, and totally enjoyable. For me, this was a fascinating insight into a culture so very different than mine, and yet so very similar.

Pretty Girls Dancing --Kylie Brant

Fiction / Mystery
370 pages / 4822 KB
3 Stars

I think this is labeled as a Thriller, but I didn't find it much of one. In fact, I had a hard time reading it. Part of it was the subject matter, I think. And, perhaps, part of it was the writing. I don't want to give away the story, which makes it harder to review, but it just didn't grab me.

Because of the lack of grab-ability, although I was hooked enough to finish it, I found myself skimming the last half of the book rather than seriously reading it. I did want to know who done it, and why, and how. I found out the who, but missed the why, and the how. That may have been me, not Ms. Brant.

The story is told in alternating Points of View (POV), which didn't bother me as the chapter headings gave the information, but if you're not used to reading that kind of story, it may be a little off-putting until you get used to it.

I give this book 3 Stars, more as a rating of neutral than anything. I wish 'neutral' was a choice.

Instead --by Jason McIntyre

Fiction / Thriller
114 pages (Novella)
5 Stars

This series of novellas, which can be read in any order, is marvelous. I don't normally read thrillers of this nature, but am totally hooked on McIntyre's books.

It's a new year and mom and daughter are reunited at grandpa's house after a long separation due to medical reasons. And that reunion brings secrets, and a strange pack of dogs, and an even stranger, well, stranger.

A short book, but the story, like a ghost, will linger in the recesses and darkest corners of your mind for days and weeks and maybe even years to come.

Buy it. Read it. Review it.