Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Monday, February 26, 2018

20. Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall by Wendy Mass

read on my Kindle
2007 Little Brown Young Readers
251 pgs.
Contemporary YA told in VERSE form
Finished 2/26/18
Goodreads rating:  3.79 - 5250 ratings
My rating:  4
Setting:Contemporary America

First line/s:
"For fifty cents and a Gobstopper
I lifted my shirt for the neighborhood boys.
My older brother Matt caught us
and chased the boys with a wiffle bat.
Word got around, and at nine years old
I became the girl
other girls' moms
didn't want them to play with."

My comments:  Told in verse format, I guess you would call this a partial modern-day "Christmas Carol", since Tessa is only visited by the ghost of her past.  It's really cute and insightful, and sad, too.  Not SAD sad, just enough to feel badly for the little girl Tess was growing up.  And her future is yet to be written!

Goodreads synopsis: When 16-year-old Tessa suffers a shocking accident in gym class, she finds herself in heaven (or what she thinks is heaven), which happens to bear a striking resemblance to her hometown mall. In the tradition of It's a Wonderful Life and The Christmas Carol, Tessa starts reliving her life up until that moment. She sees some things she'd rather forget, learns some things about herself she'd rather not know, and ultimately must find the answer to one burning question--if only she knew what the question was
          Written in sharp, witty verse, Wendy Mass crafts an extraordinary tale of a spunky heroine who hasn't always made the right choices, but needs to discover what makes life worth living.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

MOVIE - Call Me By Your Name

R (2:10)
Wide release 1/19/18
Viewed February 24, 2018 somewhere in PA
IMBd:   8.0
RT Critic:  95  Audience: 85
Critic's Consensus:  Call Me by Your Name offers a melancholy, powerfully affecting portrait of first love, empathetically acted by Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer.
Cag:  5/Loved it
Directed by Luca Guadagnino
Written by James Ivory, and based on the book of the same title
Sony Pictures Classics

Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet

My comments:  How can you go wrong with a lush set and setting in northern Italy; two wonderful, likable protagonists - one adorable and one gorgeous - and a lovely love story?  Then throw in some particularly cool music, a thundering powerful waterfall, a few different romantic languages and you have this great indie movie.  I liked it a lot.  It was so weird that when the movie ended, the entire very-full movie theater was totally silent for quite a few minutes, even as they collected their belongings and got up to leave.  (I wish I could have the script to the father's soliloquy to the son near the very end of the movie.  It was pretty cool.)


RT/ IMDb Summary:  CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, the new film by Luca Guadagnino, is a sensual and transcendent tale of first love, based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman. It's the summer of 1983 in the north of Italy, and Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), a precocious 17- year-old American-Italian, spends his days in his family's 17th century villa transcribing and playing classical music, reading, and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel). Elio enjoys a close relationship with his father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an eminent professor specializing in Greco-Roman culture, and his mother Annella (Amira Casar), a translator, who favor him with the fruits of high culture in a setting that overflows with natural delights. While Elio's sophistication and intellectual gifts suggest he is already a fully-fledged adult, there is much that yet remains innocent and unformed about him, particularly about matters of the heart. One day, Oliver (Armie Hammer), a charming American scholar working on his doctorate, arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio's father. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of the setting, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

MOVIE - Phantom Thread

R (2:10)
Wide release 1/19/18, another that was difficult to find nearby
Viewed date 2/22/2018
IMBd:  7.6
RT Critic:  91  Audience:  69
Critic's Consensus:  Phantom Thread's finely woven narrative is filled out nicely by humor, intoxicating romantic tension, and yet another impressively committed performance from Daniel Day-Lewis.
Cag:  Did I hate it?  Did I like it?  I'm not sure...but 6 months later I still remember what happened, so it's certainly stayed with me!
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Focus Features

Daniel Day-Lewis

My comments:  Okay, I have no idea how to rate this movie.  I guess I liked it.  I had absolutely no idea what it was about other than that Daniel Day Lewis was some sort of famous fashion designer 60 years ago.  I love quirky and odd, and this was certainly quirky and odd.  It is about one of the strangest relationships I have ever witnessed.  Everyone should see it without any spoilers because it's a bit ind-blowing.  And one that won't be easily forgotten.  But even now, after thinking about it and ruminating even more, I have no idea how to rate it.  I did like it, but I was unsettled by it.  Totally unsettled.


RT/ IMDb Summary:  Set in the glamour of 1950s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) are at the center of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutants, and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. Women come and go through Woodcock's life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.

PICTURE BOOK - Ruby's Chinese New Year by Vickie Lee

Illustrated by Joey Chou
2018, Henry Holt
HC $17.95
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.35 - 36 ratings
My rating:  4  (why not a 5?  Some of the pages are a little wildly busy for me)
Endpapers:  Bright yellow-orange

1st line/s:  "Every year Ruby's grandmother came to visit for Chinese New Year."

My comments:   What a nice way to introduce the twelve Chinese Zodiac animals to kids.  Illustrations are extremely bright and go from edge-of-page to edge-of-page without white borders, which I love.  A nice real aloud for Chinese New Year.  With repetition, which is always fun.

Goodreads:   In this picture book celebrating Chinese New Year, animals from the Chinese zodiac help a little girl deliver a gift to her grandmother.
           Ruby has a special card to give to her grandmother for Chinese New Year. But who will help her get to grandmother’s house to deliver it? Will it be clever Rat, strong Ox, or cautious Rabbit? Ruby meets each of the twelve zodiac animals on her journey. This picture book includes back matter with a focus on the animals of the Chinese zodiac.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

19. Unwind by Neal Shusterman

listened to on Audible
read by Luke Daniels - bravo!
2007 Simon & Schuster
335 pgs.
YA Dystopia
Finished 2/21/2018
Goodreads rating: 4.18-160,781
My rating:  5

First line/s:  " 'There are places you can go,' Ariana tells him, 'and a guy as smart as you has a decent chance of surviving to eighteen.'"

My comments:  I have a friend who loves everything Neal Shusterman, and since I've had this sitting on my Audible for quite a while, I decided to start this instead of Scythe, which I don't have.  Wow. This is an amazing story. A dystopian America, a place where parents of kids between the ages of 13 and 18 can "rid" themselves of unwanted offspring by sending them away to be unwound. And what is unwinding? It is harvesting every single part of the living body to be used as replacements in other humans. WHOA!!!!
           So much to think about and digest. Thoroughly written, interesting personalities to get to know. Narrated by Luke Daniels, who read the story brilliantly. Neal Shusterman is amazing, I can't wait to read more of his work!

Goodreads synopsis: Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.
          The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state, is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

Friday, February 16, 2018

PICTURE BOOK - Ella Who? by Linda Ashman

Illustrated by Sarah Sanchez
2017 Sterling Children's Books
HC $14.95
24 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.94 - 117 ratings
My rating: 5
Endpapers:  white background with 12 different "ropes" of leaves traveling from bottom to top of page.  Lovely.

1st line/s: "The movers left the doors wide open.  That's probably how she got in."

My comments:  Super clever, funny, and cute story about a little girl whose family members are so "into" what they're doing that they pay very little attention to her (wise up, parents!).  The simple illustrations accentuate the story really nicely...this is the second Linda Ashman book that I've enjoyed tremendously!

Goodreads:  Mom . . . there’s an elephant in the living room. 
It’s moving day—and look who slipped in the door: an elephant! But when a little girl tries to tell her family about their unusual guest, the distracted grown-ups just say, “Ella WHO?” Even as children giggle at the girl’s adventures with the smallishpachyderm, and at the fun, recurring refrain, they’ll relate to the poignant theme about making—and sometimes letting go of—new friends.

18. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Listened to on Audible
2013, St. Martin's Griffin
438 pgs.
YA CRF
Finished  2/16/18
Goodreads rating:  4.11 - 416,019 ratings
My rating: 5
Setting:  Contemporary Nebraska (if I remember right)

First line/s:  "There was a boy in her room. Cath looked up at the number painted on her door, then down at the room assignment in her hand."

My comments:  Yup, I really enjoyed listening to this book.  100% enjoyment, totally and completely into the story.  Cath's story is just delightful.  However, by the end I'd had enough of Simon's story.  Don't think I'll be reading Carry On.

Goodreads synopsis: From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park. A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 
          Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
          Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...
          But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
          Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
          Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
          For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
          And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

17. The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor

read on my iPhone/Kindle/Book/Audible
2018 Katherine Tegen Books
336 pgs.
Mid Grades CRF
Finished 2/15/2018
Goodreads rating:  4.27 - 392 ratings
My rating:  4

First line/s:  "Tell you what.  I already know who stuffed this tee shirt into my locker.  Matt Drinker did that.  He took a Sharpie to it first.  Fat black letters.  He wrote STOOPID on it.  Same way I spelled my word in the spelling bee on Friday morning."

My comments:  This story is about bullying, friendship, love, and a sweet, sweet boy.
     I don't understand bullying.  I don't understand parents that allow it to happen,when they know it is happening.  Both and the giving and receiving ends, as in this book.
     I really enjoyed the story, but it didn't quite rate as a five to me.  There were a few too many weaknesses.  Shayleeen, for one. (They have so little money that they're selling off bits and pieces of their orchard to a developer and they take in a stray young adult - someone they don't even know - and let her spend all sorts of money - their money - on the shopping networks?  Take her in, great, feed her and cloth her, that's more-than okay, too, but let her rule the roost?)  And come one, Mason is being chased and abused by neighborhood kids and his grandmother and uncle either don't know about it (they should!) or don't do anything about it?  It's not as if they don't love him and carae about him.  And they are not oblivious people.  It just doesn't make sense to me.
     There ARE a couple of characters that do totally make sense to me - the wonderful counselor and friend to Mason at his school (oh what a wonderful, klutzy, classy, real person she is!)  and the cop who is trying to figure out what is happening.  They were believable.
     I kept drawing comparisons to one of my all-time favorite books, Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick.  There are a lot.  That might even make and interesting paper/examination/comparison for me to write one day as I circumvent my journey towards a doctorate in children's literature, lol!
   
Goodreads synopsis: From the critically acclaimed author of Waiting for Normal and All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook, Leslie Connor, comes a deeply poignant and beautifully crafted story about self-reliance, redemption, and hope.
          Mason Buttle is the biggest, sweatiest kid in his grade, and everyone knows he can barely read or write. Mason’s learning disabilities are compounded by grief. Fifteen months ago, Mason’s best friend, Benny Kilmartin, turned up dead in the Buttle family’s orchard. An investigation drags on, and Mason, honest as the day is long, can’t understand why Lieutenant Baird won’t believe the story Mason has told about that day.
          Both Mason and his new friend, tiny Calvin Chumsky, are relentlessly bullied by the other boys in their neighborhood, so they create an underground club space for themselves. When Calvin goes missing, Mason finds himself in trouble again. He’s desperate to figure out what happened to Calvin, and eventually, Benny.
           But will anyone believe him?
 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

16. Ordinary Grace - William Kent Krueger

listened on Audible - read BEAUTIFULLY
2013 Atria Books
307 pgs.
Adult Historical Fiction
Finished 2/14/2018
Goodreads rating:  4.15 - 48,224 ratings
My rating:  4.5
Setting:1961 New Bremen, sourthern Minnesota

First line/s:   "All the dying that summer began with the death of a child, a boy with golden hair and thick glasses, killed on the railroad tracks outside New Bremen, Minnesota, sliced into pieces by a thousand tons of steel speeding across the prairie toward South Dakota."

My comments:  This story is about a minister's family in New Bremen, Minnesota in the summer of 1961, told in the first person by the middle child, a 13-year old named Frank, called Frankie by his family.  The story examines faith and the "awesome grace of God."
     I am genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed this book.  Usually I go running in the other directions - screaming - when I discover a book contains ruminations about religion.  This one never ever shoved religion down my throat, and the minister father, Nathan Drum, was everything anyone could ever want in a minister.  It certainly game me lots to think about, particularly about grief.  It also made me ponder so many people's unquestionable belief that anything that happens is "God's will."  And, if anything, it strengthened my own beliefs. 
     So many strengths here - wonderful characterization, beautifully crafted plot, and really lovely writing.
     So many great things bout this book, but the best for me?  I really like the relationship between Frank and his stuttering younger brother, Jake.

Goodreads synopsis: From New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger comes a brilliant new novel about a young man, a small town, and murder in the summer of 1961.
         New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were at the ready at Halderson’s Drug Store soda counter, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a summer in which death assumed many forms.
          When tragedy unexpectedly comes to call on his family, which includes his Methodist minister father, his passionate, artistic mother, Juilliard-bound older sister, and wise-beyond-his years kid brother, Frank finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal.
          On the surface, Ordinary Grace is the story of the murder of a beautiful young woman, a beloved daughter and sister. At heart, it’s the story of what that tragedy does to a boy, his family, and ultimately the fabric of the small town in which he lives. Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer, it is a moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.

Postcards Received from Wyoming

736. Wyoming
A native of Wyoming, the Jackalope has never been captured alive.  It can only be hunted on June 31st between sunrise and sunset.  It mimics noises, especially the human voice and runs at lightning speed, therefore, the Jackalope is seldom seen.  Some folks drink Jackalope milk to cure eccentricities.  Best time to milk a Jackalope is after midnight as it sleeps i=on its back, belling shining in the moonlight.
 I hope this is a good addition to your collection

Monday, February 12, 2018

MOVIE - Fifty Shades Freed

R
Wide Release 2/9/2018
Viewed February 12, 2018 at Carlisle 8
RT Critic:  12  Audience:  38
Critic's Consensus:  Fifty Shades Freed brings its titillating trilogy to a clumsy conclusion, making for a film franchise that adds up to a distinctly dissatisfying ménage à trois. 
Cag:  3.5
Directed by James Foley
Universal Pictures
Box Office:  96 million

Jamie Dorman, Dakota Johnson

My comments:  Two words.  Jamie Dorman.  That is all.

RT/ IMDb Summary Believing they have left behind shadowy figures from their past, newlyweds Christian and Ana fully embrace an inextricable connection and shared life of luxury. But just as she steps into her role as Mrs. Grey and he relaxes into an unfamiliar stability, new threats could jeopardize their happy ending before it even begins.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

MOVIE - Maze Runner 3: The Death Cure

PG-13 (1:54)
Wide 1/26/18
Viewed 2/11/18 at the Carlisle 8
IMBd: 6.7/10
RT Critic: 42  Audience:  66
Critic's Consensus:  Maze Runner: The Death Cure may offer closure to fans of the franchise, but for anyone who hasn't already been hooked, this bloated final installment is best left unseen.
Cag:  3/Liked it
Directed by Wes Ball
20th Century Fox
Based on the book by James Dashner

Walter Googins

My comments:   I read the book for and saw the first movie in this series.  Totally skipped the second, and this was the final segment of the trilogy.  Lots of bangs and booms, zombies, and Walter Googins as a half-zombie - the bad guy that will stop at nothing.  A surprise, supposedly dead, character from the past.  An especially long entertaining movie with an okay ending, though nothing spectacular.  A good way to spend the evening after a long weekend of work, in the dark, with a cold soda, feet up in a recliner, and the big screen in front of me.


RT/ IMDb Summary:  Thomas leads some escaped Gladers on their final and most dangerous mission yet. To save their friends, they must break into the legendary Last City, a WCKD-controlled labyrinth that may turn out to be the deadliest maze of all. Anyone who makes it out alive will get answers to the questions that the Gladers have been asking since they arrived in the maze.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

PICTURE BOOK - I Am Not a Number by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer

Illustrated by Gillian Newland
2016, Second Story Press, Canada
HC  $18.95
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.29 - 385 ratings
My rating:  4.5
Endpapers:  pale sage green

1st line/s:"The dark figure, backlit by the sun, filled the doorway of our home on Nipissing Reserve Number 10."

My comments:  I'm not sure if you would consider this a very short fiction book for middle-graders, or a quite long picture book for middle graders, but no matter which you choose it's a powerful story of how the Indigenous people - in this instance Canadian - were treated for most of the 2oth century.  Rubbish!  Ripped from their families, sent away to be practically starved and "taught" by nuns and religious factions, these children were neglected and abused and shamed.  It's sickening, and I'm glad that some of this history is hitting the bookshelves for older kids. This story is true, based on the life of the author's grandmother.

Goodreads:  When eight-year-old Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school she is confused, frightened, and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from, despite the efforts of the nuns who are in charge at the school and who tell her that she is not to use her own name but instead use the number they have assigned to her. When she goes home for summer holidays, Irene's parents decide never to send her and her brothers away again. But where will they hide? And what will happen when her parents disobey the law? Based on the life of co-author Jenny Kay Dupuis’ grandmother, I Am Not a Number is a hugely necessary book that brings a terrible part of Canada’s history to light in a way that children can learn from and relate to.


PICTURE BOOK - Around the World in Numbers by Clive Gifford

 Illustrated by Josh Hurley
2017, Red Shed (UK), Sterling (US)
CH $14.95
pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.5 - 2 ratings
My rating:  5
Endpapers:  Orange with darker orange animal sketches
Illustrations:  Edge - to - edge, no white, bold colors, great illustrations that jump out at you.
1st line/s: "Grab you rsuitcase and fill it with facts as you travel through the different countries that make up Europe.  Packed with over 740 million people, there are lots of enormous and tiny numbers to discover, as well as some really surprising ones."

My comments:  I so enjoyed pouring over the facts, numbers, and illustrations in this book.  Although jam-packed with super interesting information, it's not so dense that it's off-putting.  On the contrary, I read each and every statistic and was dazzled by almost all of them.  Such though-provoking information - AND, I discovered a couple of new places to ad to my bucket list.  For older kids, the kind of kids who love maps and encyclopedias and World Record books.  And adults, too!


Goodreads Welcome to the fun and surprising world of numbers! 
Did you know there were about 10,000 light bulbs on the Titanic? Or that the Eiffel Tower is repainted every seven years—using 1,500 paintbrushes and 60 tons of paint? This engaging collection of statistics encourages kids’ curiosity by sharing some unbelievable numerical facts from across the globe. From famous landmarks and bustling cities to hidden treasures and incredible creatures, no number is too big or too small. Lively graphic illustrations add to the fun. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

PICTURE BOOK - The Pink Hat by Andrew Joyner

Illustrated by the author
2018, Random House
HC $17.99
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.56 - 151 ratings
My rating: 5
Endpapers: Bright Pink
Illustrations: Black & white except for the pink hat
1st line/s:  "First, there wasn't a hat....
                     Then there was."

My comments:  Why do people's expectations divert their liking for a book?  This is a subtle story, not the in-you-race-story with lots of political information that many reviewers wanted.  The message is there, it's quiet, and it's perfect for today's kids as well as today's young women.  It was fun to see where the story was going.  Let it BE what it IS, sit back and enjoy.  This is a fantastic book.  Another will be written to satisfy those who want more political references!



Goodreads:  Celebrate the 2017 Women's March with this charming and empowering picture book about a pink hat and the budding feminist who finds it.
          Here is a clever story that follows the journey of a pink hat that is swiped out of a knitting basket by a pesky kitten, blown into a tree by a strong wind, and used as a cozy blanket for a new baby, then finally makes its way onto the head of a young girl marching for women's equality. 
          Inspired by the 5 million people (many of them children) in 82 countries who participated in the 2017 Women's March, Andrew Joyner has given us a book that celebrates girls and women and equal rights for all! 
          With themes of empathy, equality, and solidarity, The Pink Hat is a timeless and timely story that will empower readers and promote strength in the diverse and active feminist community.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

What's Up Next?


Angie Pallorino (Loreth Ann White) #2 The Lullaby Girl (5.00/14.95)
Archie Lean, Portland Maine 1892 (Kieran Shields) #1 The Truth of All Things KINDLE
(Chief Inspector) Armand Gamache/Three Pines, Quebec (Louise Penny) #3 The Cruelest Month AVAILABLE eBk & eAudio through TPPL
Beth Sturgis & Jack Kale (Robert Daniels) #2 Wake the Devil
Betty Rhyzyk, Dallas Narcotics #2 The Kiln coming Spring 2019
Carter Ross (Brad Parks) #3 The Girl Next Door
Casey Duncan (Kelley Armstrong) All Caught Up #5 Alone in the World coming in Feb. 2020
Comoran Strike (Robert Galbraith) all caught up - next one out is #5, still no info 19/19
Cork O'Connor (William Kent Krueger) #3 Purgatory Ridge
Cyril Landry (J. Carson Black) up-to-date as of August, 2019
Dave Gurney (John Verdon) #6 White River Burning (7/3/18) AUDIBLE
David Mapstone, Phoenix (Jon Talton) #2 Camelback Falls KINDLE
Decker & Lazarus (Kellerman) #19 Hangman KINDLE
Decker & Lazarus (Kellerman) #1 The Ritual Bath KINDLE
Elise Sandburg (Anne Frasier) #2.5 Sincerely Dead (only 8 pgs.) #3 Pretty Dead
Elizabeth Harris/Lancaster Police Detective (Caught up, waiting for #3)
Ellie Hatcher/NYC cop (Alafair Burke) #3 212 (This IS correct - 212)
(Det.) Erika Foster (Robert Bryndza) #2 The Night Stalker
(Iceland Inspector) Erlendur (Arnaldur Indridason) #3 (first translation to English) Jar City AUDIBLE & KINDLE
Garrison Gage (Carter) #6 Bury the Dead in Driftwood (out 8/11/19)
Genevieve Lenard (Estelle Ryan) #1 The Gauguin Collection - also have 2 & 3 KINDLE
Harry Bosch (Michael Connelly) #13 The Overlook CD
Jack Reacher (Lee Child) #19 Personal AUDIBLE
Jack Reacher (Lee Child) #17 Wanted Man AUDIBLE
Jane Whitefield (Thomas Perry) #8 A String of Beads KINDLE
Jessica Blackwood (FBI, computers, & cemeteries) (Andrew Mayne)  #2 Name of the Devil
Joe Burgess, Portland ME cop (Kate Flora) #2 The Angel of Knowlton Park KINDLE
Joe Pickett (C. J. Box) #2 Savage Run (avail. thru RBDigital at TPPL)
Joe Plantaganet (Kate Ellis) #2 Playing with Bones
(Det.) John Barnes (Scott Holliday) No #3 yet as of 10/19
(Det.) John Byron Portland PD (Bruce Robert Coffin) #2 Beneath the Depths (2017)
Josie Quinn, Denton PA Cop #2 The Girl With No Name- don't listen to audio if read by Eildih Beaton
Jude Fontaine (Anne Frasier) all caught up - no more in the series thus far
Kate Burkholder (Linda Castillo) #9.5 Only the Lucky, otherwise, all caught up
(Inspector) Kari Vaara (James Thompson) #3 Helsinki Winter
Kevin Kerney (Michael McGarrity) #4 Hermit's Peak
Kick Lannigan (Chelsea Cain) #2 Kick Back
(Det.) Kim Stone (Angela Marsons) #4 Play Dead
Kinsey Milhone (Sue Grafton) V is for Vengeance
Laura Cardinal (J. Carson Black) #5 Ladies Man (Kindle Unlimited)
Laura Winslow (David Cole (Dragonfly Bones) have bk
Lena Jones (Betty Webb) #5 Desert Cut
(Det.) Lottie Parker #2 (Gibney) The Stolen Girls
Lucas Davenport (John Sandford) #2 Shadow Prey AUDIBLE
Mercy Kilpatrick (Kendra Elliot) #3 A Merciful Secret
Mike Bowditch (Paul Doiron) #9 Stay Hidden (Also #8.5 Rabid)
Nadia Tesla (Orest Stelmach) #1 The Boy from Reactor 4  KINDLE
(D. I.) Nikki Galena (Joy Ellis) #2 Shadow Over the Fens
Rebekah Roberts NYC Journalist (Julia Dahl) #3 Conviction
Renee Ballard/LA cop (Michael Connelly) #2 Sacred Knight - October, 2018
Ruth Galloway (Elly Griffiths) #3 The House at Sea's End (eBk avail at TPPL)
(Det.) Sam Porter/4MK (J. D. Barker) #2 The Fifth to Die - July 2018
(Sheriff) Serenity Adams (Indiana Amish Cntry) #2 Whispers from the Dead
Solomon Creed, Redemption, AZ (Simon Toyne) #1 The Searcher KINDLE
(Dr.) Theo Cray, biologist (Andrew Mayne) all caught up
Virgil Flowers, MN Investigator (John Sandford) All caught up through #12...
Walt Longmire (Craig Johnson) #1 The Cold Dish AUDIBLE

Monday, February 5, 2018

15. The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

read on my iPhone
2017, HMH Books for Young Readers
388 pgs.
YA Dystopia/ 1942 America
Finished 2/5/2018
Goodreads rating: 4.13 - 1609 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting:  1942 Sterling, an east coast American community

First line/s:  "I want something of hers.  There's a teacup downstairs, the last one she used before she died."

My comments:  This is one of those books that just keeps getting better and better as it goes along  Lots of fantasy mixed with mystery and a lovely, small-town 1942 setting.  There was one major thing that was a little too unbelievable to make this five-worthy, and I will write it here invisibly because it is definitely the biggest spoiler of the book:
How are we to believe that Shakespeare's bones were stolen from England and brought to the United States?  There's nothing in Steffen's stories to even hint at this that I can remember...if the book was set in England it would be so much more believable.  Also, some of the variants -- magic potions -- made sense, but the hows and whys behind the invention of others were really unclear and frustrating.
      This was a clever book with a few flaws, an enjoyable read, and recommended.

Goodreads synopsis: What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared?
          Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home--and the place where Juliet grew up.
          Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together--scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream--vanish every seven years.
          No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible--and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind.
          As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone's secrets for long before it starts giving them up.
 

Postcards from Michigan

1904.  Detroit
Walter Crane (1845-1915) 
The Grave of Keats
Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford
Hello Chris from Detroit.  I hope you like this cemetery card.  I'm a 70 year old retiree living with my husband, Peter, and our pet dog, Nellie.  We recently had 5 inches of snow in one day and are told to expect a similar amount in a few days - a lot for here.  Marc

1163.  Detroit, Michigan
Spirit of Detroit
When it was dedicated in 1958, the 26-foot Spirit of Detroit sculpture was the largest cast bronze statue since the Renaissance.  The left hand holds a bronze sphere emanating rays to symbolize God, while the right hand holds a family group.  The plaque in front of the sculpture reads, "The artist expresses the concept that God, through the spirit of man is manifested in the family, the noblest human relationship."
Greetings from Michigan, Chris!  My name's Autumn and I live in an area just outside Detroit called Novi.  Although Detroit has a bad rep, it's truly an amazing city.  The people have a spirit that's hard to explain.  Hope you like the Spirit of Detroit.  It definitely represents us well.  Happy Postcrossing from the D!

Postcards by Virpi Pekkala - Finland

1243.  Virpi Pekkala:  Tikeri? (trans: Tiger? The "?" is included)
Greetings from Finland
My name is Kirsi and I live in Rauma.  It is an idyllic seaside city on the west coast of Finland.  Have a nice day  Kim

791.  Zug, Switzerland
Virpi Pekkala:  1974 Tee-se-itse, Gor det sjalv
Hello Chris!  Nice to met you!  I live in Zug, in the German speaking part of Switzerland.  Zug is lovely situated on the shore of Lake Zug with beautiful view to the Swiss Alps.  We have one of the most romantic sunsets here in Europe.  This postcard I bought in a small shop in the old town of Pauuja during a summer holiday in Finland.  I have been there by train and by ferry boat because I don't like travelling by plane.  To my work I ride on my red bicycle.  Kind regards, Merlin

748.  Jurva, Finland
Virpi Pekkala
Hello Chris and greetings from my tiny village of Jurva.  I'm so waiting for warm weathers, ithas been too cold and this morning we had only +2 degrees C (35.6F)  This is not ice-cream time yet.  This weather is not common here this time of year.  I wish on sunny summer days and lots of ice-cream!

531.  Virpi Pekkala card from FINLAND
Hello Hei Chris!
Greetings from Finland.  Nice you like our Virpi Pekkala's art.  I love her quiet humour.  Hugs and kisses, Leila

466.  Virpi Pekkala Card, Finland
Hello Chris,  It is time for blueberries in Finland.  I love to eat them, but I don't love to pick them.  There are too many mosquitos in the forest. (The mosquitos love me :( )  Just now I am in our summer cottage in eastern Finland.  It is evening and we warm up the sauna.  My husband is a sauna lover.  I like it, but cannot stay there a long time.  It is too hot.  Best Regards, Leena

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Postcards from Serbia

1168.  Belgrade, Serbia
"Beograd" in Serbian
"Toe move, to breathe, to fly, to float
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live."
Warm greetings from Belgrade, capital of Serbia, my hometown.  Wishing you happy holidays and many interesting postcards to come.  Petar

Postcards from Rhode Island

749.  Rhode Island
Hi Chris!  My name is Aisha.  Some things I really enjoy are:  reading, vintage items, drawing, collecting postcards, playing sports.  I hope you are having a great day!  Here in Rhode Island the weather is quite nice.

Very Cool Postcards that Don't Seem to Fit in any of My Categories

1956.  Holland
Greetings, happy Postcrossing and Have a Nice Day.


749.  Rhode Island
Hi Chris!  My name is Aisha.  Some things I really enjoy are:  reading, vintage items, drawing, collecting postcards, playing sports.  I hope you are having a great day!  Here in Rhode Island the weather is quite nice.

Postcards of BRIDGES

939.  A Bridge in Russia, but I don't know where, darn it!
Hello, hope you will like this card.  Best regards, Anna

745.  Garganta do Diabo - Santa Maria - BRAZIL
Valley of the Devil's Throat
Hi!  Today I'm studying for school and it's cold, so I'm happy.  I love to study and learn new things and reading is good to reflect about life.... If you like reading, you should read AGatha Christie, she's the best.  Be happy!

Friday, February 2, 2018

MOVIE - Jumanji

RPG-13 (1:52)
Wide Release 12/20/17
Viewed 2/2/18 with Laura and Ella - girls night out - Panera Bread first.
IMBd: 7.0
RT Critic:  77  Audience:  87
Critic's Consensus:  Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle uses a charming cast and a humorous twist to offer an undemanding yet solidly entertaining update on its source material.
Cag:  4/ liked it a lot
Directed by Jake Kasdan
Columbia Pictures
Based on the book by CHris VanAllsburg

Jack Black, Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart

My comments:  I would never have chosen to go to this by myself, but when Laura suggested we take Ella I jumped at the chance and I'm so glad I did.  What a fun movie!  You get to know four teenagers for a short bit...about 20 to 25 minutes...before they're wooshed into the game of Jumanji and become different characters played by Jack Black, Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, and pretty girl, *****.  They are joined near the end of their adventure by one of the Jonas Brothers.  Excitement and adventure abound, but it's the funny stuff that really keep this movie rolling and the laughter surfacing.  Fun movie!  All three of us really enjoyed it a lot.


RT/ IMDb Summary:  When four high-school kids discover an old video game console with a game they've never heard of--Jumanji--they are immediately drawn into the game's jungle setting, literally becoming the avatars they chose: gamer Spencer becomes a brawny adventurer (Dwayne Johnson); football jock Fridge loses (in his words) "the top two feet of his body" and becomes an Einstein (Kevin Hart); popular girl Bethany becomes a middle-aged male professor (Jack Black); and wallflower Martha becomes a badass warrior (Karen Gillan). What they discover is that you don't just play Jumanji--you must survive it. To beat the game and return to the real world, they'll have to go on the most dangerous adventure of their lives, discover what Alan Parrish left 20 years ago, and change the way they think about themselves--or they'll be stuck in the game forever...

Thursday, February 1, 2018

14. In the Land of Milk and Honey by Jane Jensen

#2 Elizabeth Harris, Lancaster Police Detective
listened on Audible
2016, Berkley
304 pgs.
Adult Mystery
Finished February 1, 2018
Goodreads rating: 3.95 - 222 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting:  Contemporary Lancaster and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

First line/s:  "I pulled into the driveway at the Yoder's farm and turned off my car."

My comments:  My interest and appreciation for the Kate Burkholder Amish murder mysteries by Linda Castillo have beecome overshadowed, I think, but this series.  This, too, follows a police detective - not in Ohio, but in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  I still feel a little bit dissatisfied with the protagonist, but her relationship with a lovely ex-Amish man, Ezra Byler (although a story in the background of the main plot), is very enjoyable.  So yes, I love the setting.  I love this peek inside the life of the Amish.  The plot was different, horrible murders, but cleverly and believably written.  I wish I could put my finger on exactly why I'm not completely taken with Elizabeth Harris, she's a little too...single-minded...perhaps?  I'm not sure, but maybe and hopefully after reading a third installment in this series I'll have a little better handle on why I don't really like her as much as I think I should.

Goodreads synopsis: With its peaceful, hardworking Amish population, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is a rural paradise. But former NYPD homicide detective Elizabeth Harris knows that evil lurks there—it’s just easier to hide... 
           By solving the murders of two local girls, Elizabeth has gained some trust in the Amish community. So, she’s the first person its members turn to when a fast and fatal illness takes hold, though many believe that the sickness stems from a hexerei—a curse placed by a practitioner of old-world folk magic. Elizabeth doesn’t believe in curses, and when an entire Amish family is found dead, she begins to suspect something far more sinister...
            As the CDC is called in to investigate, customers of a Philadelphia farmers market selling Amish raw milk start dying. Amid rapidly escalating panic, Elizabeth must peel away layers of superstition and fear to save the livelihood—and lives—of an entire community. Because what has happened isn’t an accident of nature or an act of God, it’s the handiwork of someone who has only just begun to kill...