Monday, November 19, 2018

MOVIE - The Girl in the Spider's Web

Wide/Limited release
Viewed Monday 11/19/18 at Carlisle in a myself....
IMBd:  6.1/10
RT Critic: 41   Audience:  46
Critic's Consensus:  The Girl in the Spider's Web focuses on the action elements of its source material for a less complex -- and only sporadically effective -- franchise reboot.
Cag:  3/Liked it somewhat
Directed by Fede Alvarez
Columbia Pictures
Based on the book by Steig Larson/David Lagercrantz

Claire Foy

My comments:  There were so many improbabilities and unreasonable happenstances in this movie that it became more than ludicrous.  However, if you didn't think about all of them, it was and enjoyable couple of hours.....  The actress that played Lisbeth Salander did NOT do it for me.  At all.

RT/ IMDb Summary:  Young computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist find themselves caught in a web of spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

November 15th - First Snow of the Year

Okay, so I may hate winter, and snow, but I love poetry, and here's a poem that suits me really well...

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A Poem for November 14th

from Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem foe Each Day of the Year selected by Fiona Waters.

POETRY - Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year selected by Fiona Waters

Illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon
2018, Nosy Crow
HC $40.00
333 pgs.
Goodreads rating: 4.42 - 12 ratings
My rating: 5
Endpapers: Cut out oak leaves (from different papers) on white

My comments:  A gorgeously illustrated volume of nature poetry from authors old and new.  The cover doesn't do it justice.  Outstanding addition to any library - though extremely heavy, might be a bit difficult for a younger child to hold and covet....

Goodreads:  Sing a Song of Seasons is a lavishly illustrated collection of 366 nature poems -- one for every day of the year. Filled with familiar favorites and new discoveries written by a wide variety of poets, including William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, John Updike, Langston Hughes, N. M. Bodecker, Okamoto Kanoko, and many more, this is the perfect book for children (and grown-ups!) to share at the beginning or the end of the day.

96. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

#1 Raven Cycle
listened on Audible
2012 Scholastic
409 pgs.
YA Fantasy
Finished 11/14/2018
Goodreads rating:  4.06 - 198,743 ratings
My rating:  5
Setting:  Contemporary Henrietta, Virginia

First line/s:  "Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she'd been told that she would kill her true love."

My comments:  Read on the drive home from Maine, through actual sleet and snow and rain and it was the perfect book to listen to on this particularly arduous journey, lol.  It was so good.  I loved the elements of magic, the otherwordly "stuff" that become reality.  I have really good pictures in my mind of the four boys, but the picture of Blue, the female protagonist, is hazier.  I really hope I get more insight into her in the next books - which I hope I can get my hands on asap!

Goodreads synopsis:  “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”
          It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.
          Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.
          His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
          But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.
          For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
          From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

Friday, November 9, 2018

95. The Dry by Jane Harper

#1 Aaron Falk
listened on Audible
2016 MacMillan Australia
352 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery
Finished 11/9/2018
Goodreads rating: 4.04 - 88,986 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting: Contemporary Australian boonies

First line/s:  "It wasn't as though the farm hadn't seen death before, and the blowflies didn't discriminate."

My comments:  It was fun being transported to Australia - and I must admit it took a bit of time to get used to the reader's Aussie accent.  Excellent story, mostly dark and sad.  This is Aaron Falk's story - the story of his childhood, his friendships, his past.  That he also becomes the chief investigator, the mystery-solver is a nice plus.  I look forward to reading the next in the series because we've gotten to know Aaron Falk so well, where does his life go from here?

Goodreads synopsis:  A small town hides big secrets in this atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery by award-winning author Jane Harper.    
          In the grip of the worst drought in a century, the farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily when three members of a local family are found brutally slain.          
          Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk reluctantly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his childhood friend, loath to face the townsfolk who turned their backs on him twenty years earlier. 
          But as questions mount, Falk is forced to probe deeper into the deaths of the Hadler family. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret. A secret Falk thought was long buried. A secret Luke's death now threatens to bring to the surface in this small Australian town, as old wounds in bleed into new ones.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

94. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

read on my iPhone
2018 Berkley
336 pgs.
Adult CRF - Romance
Finished 10/23/2018
Goodreads rating: 4.02 - 26,123 ratings
My rating: 5

First line/s:  "I know you hate surprises, Stella."

My comments:  Read this in one big swallow.  A young woman with Asbergers hires an escort because she knows she is so afraid of sex that she is frigid.  A delightful story, really well written, lots of sex - quite explicit, actually -with two very likable protagonists, Stella and Michael.  You know - you absolutely KNOW - that everything is going to turn out like a fairy tale, which makes it even more fun to read. Got to give this one a five for pure enjoyment!

Goodreads synopsis:  A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.
          Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.
          It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...
          Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic..

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

93. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

read by Julia Whelan
Listened through OverDrive - borrowed from Tucson Library
2018 Random House
334 pgs.
Finished 10/17/18
Goodreads rating:  4.47 - 102,590 ratings
My rating:  4.5
Setting:  contemporary rural Idaho

First line/s:  "I'm standing on the red railway car that stands abandoned next to the barn."

My comments:  Well.  This was quite the memoir.  Totally believable, unlike some of the reviews I read.  Extreme religion, Mormonism, survivalism, bullying, huge families, brainwashing, abuse both physical and mental, conspiracy theories, and all sorts of atrocities that are the "will of god" ..... taking place in Idaho, in the same environs as Ruby Ridge.  Tara Westover escapes, but suffers, trying to rebuild and relearn a life that has harmed her greatly.  Powerful.  Memories relived vividly with the help of journals and journaling.  Read beautifully, a really good story to listen to.

Goodreads synopsis:  An unforgettable memoir in the tradition of The Glass Castleabout a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University
          Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag". In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard.
          Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent.
          Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
          Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes and the will to change it.

Monday, September 10, 2018

92. Perfekt Order by S T. Bende

#1 The Aere Saga
read on my iPhone
self-published 2015
YA Fantasy
Finished 9/10/2018
Goodreads rating: 3.98 - 1395 ratings
My rating:  1
Setting: Contemporary Arcata, CA (Redwoods country, California)

First line/s:  " ' Cheese and Crackers.' Needles shot up my pointer finger."

My comments:   Probably one of the most ridiculous books I've ever read.  Period.

Goodreads synopsis:  All's fair when you're in love with War.
          For seventeen-year-old Mia Ahlström, a world ruled by order is the only world she allows. A lifetime of chore charts, to-do lists and study schedules have helped earn her a spot at Redwood State University’s engineering program. And while her five year plan includes finding her very own happily-evah-aftah, years at an all-girls boarding school left her feeling woefully unprepared for keg parties and co-ed extracurricular activities.
          So nothing surprises her more than catching the eye of Tyr Fredriksen at her first college party. The imposing Swede is arrogantly charming, stubbornly overprotective, and runs hot-and-cold in ways that defy reason . . . until Mia learns that she’s fallen for the Norse God of War; an immortal battle deity hiding on Midgard (Earth) to protect a valuable Asgardian treasure from a feral enemy. With a price on his head, Tyr brings more than a little excitement to Mia’s rigidly controlled life. Choosing Tyr may be the biggest distraction—or the greatest adventure—she’s ever had.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

91. Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

listened on Audible
2017 Thomas & Mercer
302 pgs.
Adult Mystery
Finished 9/8/18
Goodreads rating:  4.11 - 60,608 ratings
My rating:2

First line/s:  "Gina never asked about the garage."

My comments:  So much repetition, so much berating herself over and over and over again and then repeating the same actions that she berates herself fo.  So stupid.  Not figuring out her enemy when it was pretty darn clear.  And after disappearing eight different ties in four years, not doing so the first time she REALLY needs to?  This protagonist was so irritating, I can't believe I actually finished this book. 

Goodreads synopsis:  Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.
          With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.
          But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

90. Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason

#3 Inspector Erlundur, 1st one published in English from Icelandic)
read on my iPhone, listened on Audio, AND watched the movie on Amazon Prime!
translated from Icelandic
2005 Minotaur - originally in 2000 in Iceland
275 pgs.
Adult Police Procedural/Murder Mystery
Finished 9/6/18
Goodreads rating:  3.8 - 19,061 ratings
My rating:  3.5
Setting: contemporary Reykjavik, Iceland

First line/s:  "The words were written in pencil on a piece of paper placed on top of the body."

My comments: I've had this book on my Kindle for years, and then got a cheap deal on audio, so had them both and finally decided to go for it.  Then I discovered it was hard listening to it because so many of the places and names in Iceland are almost incomprehensible for my weary brain.  But flipping back-and-forth between the text itself and the audio was really quite interesting.  And then I rented and watched the movie, made in Iceland with subtitles, an hour after I finished the book!
     Not only was this story/mystery itself incredibly dark, the setting was almost darker.  Although it was autumn, it was a dreary, constantly rainy autumn.  Erlunder, the detective protagonist, is a 50-ish, scruffy smoker, long divorced, with a daughter who is an addict.  She begins living off and on with him, and their relationship is ingrained into the story.  I'm not really sure how or why his investigation moves in the direction it does, but we immediately discover the dead man is a rapist, his few friends are criminal and crazy, and everything hinges around the death of a four-year-old boy 25 years previously.  The movie pretty much followed the book, though in a bit different order, but adding situations with the dead man's two accomplices that did change the story a bit.  Not sure how to rate this - I liked the setting and the characters, but the direction in which the plot moved so so improbable....

Goodreads synopsis:  When a lonely old man is found murdered in his Reykjavík flat, the only clues are a cryptic note left by the killer and a photograph of a young girl’s grave. Inspector Erlendur, who heads the investigation team, discovers that many years ago the victim was accused, though not convicted, of an unsolved crime. Did the old man’s past come back to haunt him?
          As the team of detectives reopen this very cold case, Inspector Erlendur uncovers secrets that are much larger than the murder of one old man--secrets that have been carefully guarded by many people for many years. As he follows a fascinating trail of unusual forensic evidence, Erlendur also confronts stubborn personal conflicts that reveal his own depth and complexity of character.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Great Friday Nine to Five Drive

Carlisle to:

ShippenStitch, 45 W. King St, Shippensburg, PA to:
     Checked out the shop for the first time, as well as their "EverSewn" machines

The Yarn Basket, Chambersburg, PA (which was, unfortunately closed for the Labor Day weekend) to:

Shady Grove Fabrics, 2900 Buchanen Trail East, Greencastle, PA ( a Mennonite shop, with mostly fabrics and goods for Amish/Mennonite sewing, with a few cottons for quilting to:

Itchin 2 Stitch, Waynesboro, PA  (my GPS took me about a mile down the road, next time, watch for the address and don't trust the GPS.  I didn't stop this time) through:

Gettysburgh, to:

Creative Ewe Yarn Shop, 11 N. 5th Street, McSherrystown, PA (Loaded down with yarns!!) and
     Golden Dragon Chinese & Japanese Restaurant, 7 S. 6th Street, McSherrystown and on through:

Hanover, PA and then


89. Sanctus by Simon Toyne

read on my iPhone/Kindle/Book/Audible
2011 Harper
486 pgs.
Adult Mystery
Finished 9/5/18
Goodreads rating: 3.81 - 7049 ratings
My rating:  2
Setting: Contemporary Turkey

First line/s:  "A flash of light filled his skull as it struck the rock floor."

My comments: I quite enjoyed this until the "revelation"" at the end, which made me roll my eyes...heavenward, lol...  I actually quite liked the writing, especially the descriptions, but the premise of the story was silly  So, liked and and disliked it....

          The certainties of the modern world are about to be blown apart by a three thousand year-old conspiracy nurtured by blood and lies …
          A man throws himself to his death from the oldest inhabited place on the face of the earth, a mountainous citadel in the historic Turkish city of Ruin. This is no ordinary suicide but a symbolic act. And thanks to the media, it is witnessed by the entire world.
          But few understand it. For charity worker Kathryn Mann and a handful of others in the know, it is what they have been waiting for. The cowled and secretive fanatics that live in the Citadel suspect it could mean the end of everything they have built – and they will kill, torture and break every law to stop that. For Liv Adamsen, New York crime reporter, it begins the next stage of a journey into the heart of her own identity.
          And at that journey's end lies a discovery that will change EVERYTHING …
SANCTUS is an apocalyptic conspiracy thriller like no other – it re-sets the bar for excitement and fascination, and marks the debut of a major talent in Simon Toyne.

Friday, August 31, 2018

88. In Dark Company by Linda Castillo

#9.5 Kate Burkholder aka Burkholder super-short story....
read on my iPhone
2018 Minotaur Books
60 pgs.
Adult Mystery Novella
Finished 8/31/18
Goodreads rating:  4.18 - 435 ratings
My rating: 2.5
Setting: contemporary Painters Mill, Ohio

First line/s:  "He was going to kill her."

My comments:  This one introduces Linda Castillo's reading community to the Hutterites, a division of Anabaptists like Amish and Mennonite.  About six months ago I watched a YouTube documentary about them which I found interesting and disconcerting.  The biggest difference between Hutterites and the Amish is that the Hutterites live communally and are mainly located in Canada.  This short story does not include a murder, but amnesia, assault, and robbery instead.  Very simplistic but interesting in its way.

Goodreads synopsis:  From the New York Times bestselling author of DOWN A DARK ROAD comes Linda Castillo's IN DARK COMPANY: a short story about an injured young woman with amnesia who seeks Chief of Police Kate Burkholder’s help to remember her identity—and her attacker. 
          It’s the middle of the night in Painters Mill, and Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called to a scene where a mysterious young woman, battered and terrified, has sought shelter at an Amish farmhouse. She can’t remember her name or where she’s from, but she knows one thing: someone was trying to kill her. Kate suspects that “Jane Doe” remembers more than she’s letting on, but when Jane is attacked again on Kate’s watch, Kate resolves to find the truth. As Jane’s memories start flooding back and Kate dives deeper into her murky past, they must race to discover what Jane was running from—and who is still pursuing her.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

87 Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke

read on my iPhone
2018, Clarion
420 pgs.
Finished 8/30/18
Goodreads rating:  3.97 - 1887 ratings
My rating:  3
Setting: contemporary anywhere, usa
First line/s:  "I'm not a particularl;y good daughter, but I sat through a month of therapy for my parents' sake."

My comments: I don't know why I didn't like this more than I did.  It was written in an interesting way - somewhat like a script or a play, much of the time.  It was about teenage angst, normal and abnormal.  It was about faith and religion, friendship and family, who-cares-what-anyone-thinks, and uncertainty.  And although I hate reality TV, this was a fun way to go about telling the story of a troubled teen.  Maybe there just seems to be too much overtelling in places, or that sometimes it rambled too much?

Goodreads synopsis:  The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.
           Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don't know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she'll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight.
           As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She'll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world—or at least viewers of substandard TV—that she has what it takes to win.