Monday, April 24, 2017

The Grand Piano Range --by Sibyl James


96 pages
5 Stars

Are you like me? Do you take many of your road trips safely ensconced in your easy chair? Then this is the book for you! In her lyrical manner, Sibyl James will take you from Twisp, Washington (where my mother used to live) through the Midwest. You will survive a backcountry collision and haul a piano over Alaskan mountains. You will smile, and you will know sadness before she brings you safely home to Twisp.

James paints beauty with words, brings history into your presence. This is a book to be savored as one would an old and rare wine, a perfectly aged steak, an original Michelangelo.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Walk Into Silence (Jo Larsen Book 1) --by Susan McBride

Fiction / Mystery  

370 pages / 2817 KB
5 Stars

I took this as a Kindle First Read, and read it through.

Mysteries are not normally my genre of choice, so I can't tell you how it compares to other writers, but I can tell you I enjoyed this one. I enjoyed it enough to pre-order book 2.

There is some sex, some violence, and some psychological stuff as Jo figures out her past while solving the mystery. The sex and violence are there, and germane to the story, they are not gratuitous, nor described in great detail. I don't recall any words in the book that set my antennae twitching – ie, no f-bombs.

Recommend it.

Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands, 2d ed –by Terri Morrison and Wayne A. Conaway


595 pages
4 stars

This book is geared to the person who does business internationally. I am retired. I do not travel internationally. So, of course, I bought a copy and read it cover to cover. And found it totally fascinating!

More than 60 countries are listed alphabetically, and the information for each country is given in the same format, so it's easy to go from one to the other and not feel you're trying to compare apples to rutabagas.

Two small nits to pick – they changed fonts for the Cultural Notes, etc., and chose a narrower font, and lighter ink which made it very difficult for old eyes to read. The second nit concerns the silhouette of the country at the beginning of each section. While it's true that Americans (of which I am one) are not as good at geography as we should be, and which is called out in this book, it would have been helpful had they added necessary lines radiating from the silhouette a half inch or so and called out the countries next to it.  OK, a third nit. I would have loved to have read about a few African countries, such as Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, &c. They did give us Egypt and South Africa, but there are so many more countries there.

It would be almost impossible to produce a book of this magnitude without some glitches, which have been called out in other reviews. Personally, even with the glitches, I think the authors are to be commended for a job well done.

If you are a businessperson who does business with people not of your country, whether you host them, or are the hosted, I think this book would be an invaluable book for your office. Unthinking things we do in our native countries can have consequences in another country, even one that is similar, culturally, to ours.

This book shows us that one man's cup of tea may very well be a business's cup of poison.

Dreamthief (Fairy World MD Book !) –by Tamara Grantham

Fiction / urban & high

318 pages / 4091 KB
4 Stars

I hate to ding the author when it jolly well could have just been my mood, but I found it very easy to put down the first 2 or 3 times I started it. I waited a few weeks, picked it up for one last go and then I couldn't put it down!

Grantham does a great job of building worlds, both our mundane (Houston) and fantastical (Faythander). I absolutely love how our heroine, Olive, can go between the two worlds with no memory problem because her father is Fairy who lives in Faythander and her mother is human, who lives in Houston. Everyone else who does so without a memory charm loses all memory of the world visited when they return home.

Olive is a mental health worker in Houston, and receives a call that her godson is in a strange coma. Using magic, she determines a Dreamthief is stealing his dreams and if she doesn't find this being, and son, Jeremiah will die. Therein lies our quest.

It's a fun read and I'll be looking for other books by this author. Suspend your disbelief and enjoy a new and different fantasy.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Nailed to the Sky --poems by M. Anne Sweet


96 pages
5 Stars

This book is divided into three sections, A Room of Dark Women, Blood, and Nailed to the Sky. Each section is different, and each section is similar.

These poems are filled with rhythm of a heart-beating drum, with woman-spirit, and a rich involvement of language. Sweet is a Northwest poet living in or near Seattle. She was born in Albuquerque, and her poems show us the richness of the desert and the lushness of Puget Sound country.

Sweet knows language, and how to use it. This book should not be missed by anyone who enjoys language and poetry.

In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II --by Rhys Bowen


398 pages / 4369 KB
5 Stars

Legalities first: I received this as a Kindle First book in February.

WARNING: Do NOT start this book until you have time to sit and read! Actually, I suggest you check into a nice hotel with room service, and turn the phone off so you won't be disturbed. Oh, and ignore the daunting list of characters at the front. You won't need them. Honest. Trust me.

War novels are not books I normally pick up; this one, once started, I could not put down.  Had I started reading in the morning, I would have read straight through.

We are quickly introduced to Lord Westerham and his 5 daughters, who live at Farleigh Field. Well, most of the daughters--Margot lives in Paris, and can't get home because the Nazi's have taken over France and her lover is a member of the Resistance.

Pamela Westerham, Ben Cresswell, the Vicar's son and not a Lord, and Jeremy Prescott, the son of Sir William and Lady Prescott, are good friends and have known each other all their lives. Jeremy is a fighter pilot, shot down over Germany and captured. Ben would have been one but for an accident. He serves at MI5. Pamela loves Jeremy and is a code breaker at Bletchley, Ben loves Pamela, and Jeremy manages to escape the stalag in which he was being held to return home.

A body drops from the sky. No one knows who he is, or where he's from. He's in military uniform. An AWOL soldier out for a bit of fun with a parachute that didn't open? A German spy? The body is found by Phoebe Westerham (aged 12) and a young lad, Alfie, who lives with the Gamekeeper. There is nothing on the body to tell who he was, where he was from, or where he was going.

An interesting look into aristocratic life in England, especially during WWII. A friend of mine is from near where much of this story takes place (DO read the Historical Note at the end!) and said it made her homesick.

A terrific read. I look forward to reading her other books.