Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!
And also partner in crime with Moonlight Murder.
All the stars were aligned for me this month and I won in the Halloween Bingo drawing last week! I received a very awesome package on Sunday, but have been under the weather (to say the least) and have not had the wherewithal to sit at a computer this week. So, I'm late in posting this:
T H A N K Y O U !
I received a set of 5 spooky, spectacular Halloween socks. Very cute. I attempted to put them on display here with my other recent acquisition, our new cat, Ollivander Nox.
Here Ollie is questioning his decision to live with me, but he is displaying my favorite pair with great patience, so I kept this photo.
I took a lot of pictures. I think it was the pain medication that clouded my judgment and made me a bit...wacky. Evidence of the final straw is this ludicrous photo in which I tried to invent a scene.
In this photo you can clearly see Ollie questioning my husband's intelligence as well. He did marry me.
After coming to my senses this morning and finally being able to sit down and make a post, I decided to just take a picture of the damn socks. ;)
Many thanks to all the Halloween Book Bingo'ers who have made this ride so much fun! I adore my new socks, Blue and Moonlight, and appreciate you guys for putting such a fun event together!
I read this for The Dead Writers Society literary birthday for October 2016. I have wanted to read Arthur Miller's plays for a while, so hope to move onto "Death of a Salesman" next.
I don't know where to even begin with this one. I read it in one gulp and held my breath towards the end worrying about what would happen. From beginning to end, this play takes you on a wild ride.
Taking place in Brooklyn, we have our narrator Alferie who is a lawyer who is telling the story of longshoreman Eddie Carbone. Eddie lives with his wife Beatrice and her niece Catherine. We find out that Eddie and Beatrice have raised Catherine since she was a child, but lately something is off anytime Catherine tries to assert her independence. We start to see inklings of what is going on with what is said and not said by Beatrice. And then things come to a head for the three unit family when Beatrice's Italian relatives (Rodolpho and Marco) come to stay with them looking for work in the U.S.
Eddie at first seems like a very benign guy. He wants to keep his little family safe from harm. But you start to slowly realize what he is really afraid of (losing Catherine) and he starts to become more and more unhinged as the story goes on. After an act of betrayal, Eddie might as well as walked around with a sign saying "Doomed" on it. I loved the nuances with this character a lot. I don't think that even he wanted to admit what he really wanted and why Catherine leaving and maybe marrying was bothering him so much.
Beatrice was definitely smart. But I think that sadly she was angry at the wrong person at times (Catherine). There was definitely a little bit of if you stopped doing what you are doing, Eddie would be able to get himself under more control. There was definite blaming going on there. Frankly at one point I was waiting for Beatrice to just throw Eddie out. But she is in love with him and does choose him in the end (when she refuses to go with Catherine to watch her marry when Eddie tells her he won't let her return home if she does).
Catherine is on the border of childhood/womanhood. You can see she wants to please Eddie and Beatrice, but she starts to realize what is going on with Eddie and why she really needs to leave home. I do think that Eddie was correct though that Rodolpho doesn't really love Catherine and marrying the first guy who you actually are allowed to hang out with is not that smart of a thing to do. It seemed like Catherine and Beatrice wanted to keep pushing things in Eddie's face thinking that would make him just get over things.
Rodolpho felt sly to me. I don't know if that is what Miller meant to show, but he is definitely not someone I got a good handle on while reading. I do think that Eddie's predictions of the couple will hold true if they do marry. He doesn't seem to love Catherine, she's just there and is female.
Marco I see-sawed about a lot while reading. He definitely realizes what is going on. But he blames Eddie and doesn't seem to care that his actions will ultimately cause his wife and children more pain than anything that Eddie did.
I really liked the writing and the flow of this play from beginning to end. Miller wrote very good stage directions and I could picture everything in my head (take note Harry Potter and the Cursed Child). The play made me gasp a few times just based on dialogue and actions (Eddie kisses Rodolpho to prove to him and Catherine that he is gay and not really interested in Catherine) and to think this play was written in 1955 and staged in 1956 just floors me. Miller's writing, characters, everything is just so good.
The ending was definitely tragic, but you can see there was no other ending that would have worked for the play. Eddie's destiny was going to be tragic once he refused to let go of Catherine. I felt like if this was a Poirot novel, Miller would have had Eddie poison Rodolpho or Catherine both so that way he could still "win."
I tried, I really did. I loved this movie and for me the movie was much better than this book. It was over-written (is that a thing?) because that's how it felt to me. I just wanted to read about these three women who are witches living in Eastwick. Instead Updike spends so much time on a lot of minutiae that I just didn't care to finish this.
I have talked to three other people and one had a reaction similar to mine (though she finished, and is still mad she didn't just put it away) one who was meh to the book and the third person who loved it and kept screeching they couldn't believe that I didn't like this since I am such a big reader. Yeah I like to read, not torture myself, this book was feeling mighty painful til I threw up the white flag of surrender.
Besides knowing that the three women are called Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie. I had some True Blood flashbacks cause of the name (same pronunciation, different spelling) and that's about it.
Updike spends so much time overly describing these three women and how their marriages ended (or didn't end, I still don't know) that my eyes started to glaze. I think one of them is a mat? I refuse to go back and read this book again. One of my friends told me that Updike was writing symbolically and that the one husband wasn't turned into anything and my response was I refuse to care about this and they started laughing. So there's that at least.
And I don't even know what to call this writing, purple prose on acid maybe. Cause everything was just too much. I at one point was all can you just get to the point?! The point!
There are just huge blocks of text staring at you because Updike doesn't seem to know how to end thoughts/paragraphs. And then you will have characters having three to five different inner thoughts and you want to scream because once again you just want to say get to the point.
I have never read an Updike before this one and I doubt that I will read any in the future.
I have read Susan Mallery's other works and for me the only one that I really do enjoy is the Blackberry Island series. Everything else has been hit or miss with me. This is a standalone novel and though I loved two characters from beginning to end (Charlotte and Quinn) everyone else was a meh (Sienna) and double meh to me (Rachel and the girl's mother (Maggie).
Daughters of the Bride revolves around the Watson family (Rachel, Sienna, and Charlotte) who are in the throes of the party planning for their widowed mother Maggie. Maggie has finally after decades alone found someone to fall in love with and marry. Her three daughters are happy for their mother and all are going through some changes in their lives as well.
Rachel is dealing with her fallout from divorcing her high school boyfriend Greg and joint parenting their son with him. Sienna is with a man that she knows that she feel more towards, but wonders if this is all she can expect in their relationship. Courtney is the black sheep of the family, she works as a maid in a boutique hotel with their family's long-time friend who owns the hotel.
So let's start with the good. I loved everything about Courtney's story-line. She's the youngest and seen as the screw-up due to her height and her inability to walk anywhere without knocking something over. Due to a learning disability school was hard and she quit as soon as she could and took up with some not great guys. Now she's working at a maid and is doing a lot to prove herself (in secret) to her family. Courtney definitely got things more than her sisters. And I liked that she finally stood up to her family and her mother regarding how they treated her for years.
Sienna I warmed up to in the middle of the book when you read more of her backstory and she starts to realize how terribly she treated her younger sister. Sienna knows that things between her and her boyfriend are not quite right, but she's still struggling through what is wrong.
Rachel I started out liking, but I really did hate what Mallery did with her character. To have a character who was cheated on and then have the whole thing end up being their fault because she ended up not showing her husband how much she needed him and oh she treated him like an overgrown child since he even admits that what he was doing, but still it's her fault? I hated the whole thing. I don't know why in romance novels we always punish the strong heroine unless it's in a regency romance novel and the same heroine is applauded for being ahead of her times and an Original.
Mallery doesn't spend much time with the mother of the group which I think was a missed opportunity. I really didn't care for her. Self absorbed throughout, and her immaturity when she realizes Courtney's secret was ridiculous. I also hated the fiancee too since he was overly indulgent with her and even rebukes Courtney when her mother is upset with her. Okay dude, not her dad, stay out of it. That's the other thing. The girls don't have a relationship at all with the fiancee which is weird. They all three think and talk about him in general terms.
Mallery chooses instead to include a male perspective into this read with the character of Quinn who is related to the owner of the hotel. I don't know why she did this, and know in retrospect get how odd it was since it breaks up the flow between the three daughters and then to have his POV included. Since Mallery doesn't do this with the other love interests (don't worry, not going to tell you who) it doesn't make any sense why she did this with him.
The other men in this book we don't get much to go by at all. I can honestly say I wasn't impressed with them at all.
The writing was good, I thought Courtney and Quinn's POV were more fun and also more real than the other two. Sienna doesn't really come alive til the middle/end of the book and I wish Mallery had shown her more at her job since I was more interested in her after we get to see how she does her job helping with battered women. I wish that Mallery had included more interactions with the three of them. I felt like I was reading three separate stories with a guy included until the very end.
The flow was good until as I noted above, Quinn's POV was included. It would have flowed better if the book had just stayed focused on the three sisters, with maybe some POV from the mother.
The setting of California was utilized a bit here and there. I guess I am just disappointed because Blackberry Island always reads like a real place with people. So far none of the books I have read (including Fool's Gold) touches that series.
The ending was a foregone conclusion. I wish that something had been changed up a bit, or it would have been great for the daughters as a whole to call their mother out on a lot of things that went on as they were growing up.
My Cloud Reader is not cooperating today so switched to overdrive/pages.
So Mary sucks. I mean a lot. She is sitting here and laughing at Jem (who is a horse thief) who has sold back the horse to the wife of the man he stole it from. I don't get her. Is this one long story about how Mary is pretty much going to be her aunt if she continues down this past with Jem?
DNF at 112 pages.
This was so boring and never ending. I just kept reading to eventually get to a chapter or something that showed that it was going to stop.
The writing was over the top/flowery and there are no breaks between separate thoughts. My brain seriously got tired while reading this book.
"Jane has such beautiful possibilities, Sukie said a bit automatically, as she scrabbled with a furious monkey-motion in the refrigerator's icemaker to loosen some more cubes. A witch can freeze water at a glance but sometimes unfreezing it is the problem. Of the four dogs she and Monty had supported in their heydey, two had been loping silvery-brown Weinmaraners, and she had kept one, called Hank; he was now leaning on her legs in the hope that she was struggling with the refrigerator on his behalf."
That is one paragraph. I just couldn't go on. Some of the paragraphs were so long I wanted to take a red pen and break them up.
The women in this book don't feel real and I am still unclear what happened to them and their husbands. Did they divorce or did they die?
I feel all over the place right now. I lost wi-fi most of yesterday so I was trying to not kill my data minutes with updates here or on Goodreads. So I am sorry about the flurry of updates about to happen.
I really liked this play. The nuances of what is going on with Eddie, Beatrice, and Catherine were a little tough to think about much. Eddie though he denies it is thinking of Catherine as more than just his little girl (baby) and Beatrice is starting to realize that it's dangerous to keep her sister in the same household. When Beatrice's two relatives who illegally gain entry to the US to work come, things in the household come to a head. I would love to see this play in person, it reads as very raw and real.
“I’m in terrible trouble,” she said. “Sometimes I think I shall become like my aunt, and go out of my mind. You may have heard rumors down here in Altarnun, and you will have shrugged your shoulders, and not listened to them. I’ve not been at Jamaica Inn much over a month, but it seems like twenty years. It’s my aunt that worries me; if only I could get her away."
Who tells a total stranger their business?!
"Baaukar, my lord, it is very difficult to interrogate a corpse. Though, certainly not impossible."
A couple of months ago, I reviewed The Only Living Boy. Vol. 2 by request of the author, David Gallaher. As I said in that review, I was honored to do so. A couple of weeks ago, I received an invite to get more of the story. Based on the previous experience, I jumped at the opportunity to not only fill in what I had missed from Vol. 1, but to continue the story into Vol. 3. As one might imagine, this lends a far greater perspective in terms of storytelling and character development, which for me is far more gratifying than a single installment.
The first two volumes are just plain fun. A young boy runs away and finds himself alone on a patchwork planet. He is befriended by some unlikely and interesting allies, and he has to make heads or tails out of the situation he finds himself in. I feel like details would ruin the surprises, though it ultimately comes down to a dystopian sci-fi / fantasy that makes for an impressive introduction that's surprisingly upbeat at times given the foundations in place. There's adventure aplenty, but it's all clearly setup for something more. Questions are asked.
Vol. 3 peels back some of those layers to offer answers, which of course only brings new questions and new avenues for storytelling. The masters of the patchwork planet begin to really exert themselves in this volume and reveal themselves to be as patchwork as their creations on more than just the physical level. The story takes a psychological turn, asking the really hard questions about death, love, and belonging in a world where nothing seems to have much value on the surface, and things exist in haphazard combination. I've been wrestling with how to describe this, and the best analogy I can offer is that this is one part Frankenstein, one part The Island of Dr. Moreau, one part The Planet of the Apes, and stitched together with elements of wonder and optimism offered from the best hero kid movies from the 80s. It's one of those stories that you have to see to believe simply due to the sheer amount of heart that David Gallaher put into this story.
When you're talking graphic novels, the story has to be told hand-in-glove with the art in perfect symbiosis. Steve Ellis brings a style to this tale that, personally, I found inviting. The muted colors offer a sense of darkness, but the wonder still comes through. As every panel services the story in compliment, you keep turning pages. But when the adventure is over, it calls you back to go through it more slowly to absorb the details in each panel. This has the effect of making you want to re-read to see what else the art may have added that you didn't notice on the first time through. The best graphic novels on the market in any era are the ones that encourage this exact experience, and so I give The Only Living Boy my highest recommendation. I'm looking forward to continuing with this story as it progresses.
I'm pretty meh towards this one. We have a self absorbed mother who is now getting married. I think we're supposed to sympathize with her because she's a widow, but reading how she talked to the youngest daughter Courtney I wasn't interested. Honestly the only character I liked was Courtney. I'm annoyed we got another romance read where a divorced couple has the husband who cheated blame the wife because she didn't show him how she needed him and was trying to be a martyr. I hated Greg and wish that Rachel had hard passed him.
Tell me Uncle Joss gets beaten over the head with a shovel????
I feel for poor Mary.
Right now she is with her maternal aunt and her terrible husband living with them at Jamaica Inn. I am going to guess that since coaches won't stop there and something evil is alluded by all we are going to get some Rebecca levels of foolishness happening here.
If you are worried that any of these stories are going to scare the pants off of you, never fear, I give them 3 scares out of 5. Seriously though, there is some creepiness here and there, but nothing that is going to make you have nightmares for days, looking at you "It".
I got this collection back when I was still scouting around for Scary (Women) Authors and Diverse Authors Can be Spooky Fun books.
There are only 6 stories in this collection and though some were dancing towards scary/horror most were just more in the mystery or thriller genre to me.
"The Doll-Master" (4 stars)- I liked the set-up to this book. A young boy who mourns his cousin that has passed away. He keeps a doll of hers to remember her by, but it is taken away from him by his jerk of a father. The boy grows up to become obsessed with stealing away found dolls that he finds laying around on the ground, playground, etc. Of course when you start reading you realize what is really going on. I liked this one the most of the six stories though I thought the ending was a real letdown. I think you can guess at what is going to occur, but in all of her stories, Oates endings just kind of peter out. I don't know if that's her way of showing tension/terror, but it got old real quick by the end of the collection.
"Soldier" (5 stars)- I don't think I was in the proper mindset for this story. This hit a little too close to home for me with regards to me thinking about the Trayvon Martin shooting and how a lot of people applauded GZ (I am not spelling out his name) for the actions he took and how we all got a well gee he's a really racist and appalling human being after the fact. In "Soldier" we have a young man being applauded for shooting a young black boy (in his recitation to the police and others he thought he was a man) when the boy and his five other friends tried to attack him. Oates manages to really get under the skin of what a lot of people are saying and not saying regarding violence against African Americans in the U.S. right now. And she slowly peels back the shooter's state of mind until you get to see every little ugly thought the person had concerning black people. This story actually made me tear up a bit. The ending leaves so much unsaid so who knows how things will go. Will this man be lauded a hero or be found guilty in the court of law.
"Gun Accident: An Investigation" (2 stars)-This one was just odd. We have an older woman recollecting her childhood teacher and how she was asked to take care of her Siamese cat, plants, mail, etc. while she was away attending to her husband. I honestly thought the story was heading one way, and then Oates throws in the girl's older black sheep cousin and the story shifts. I don't know exactly what Oates was going with here, maybe look deeper at stories that a person is telling you. Maybe she was also trying to get into how back in the day (and still today I would argue) people don't talk much about the things a man/boy can do to a young woman and how that can leave them. Like I said, this story was odd and I felt like was trying to do too much.
"Equatorial" (1 star)-Sorry the wife in this story (we finally find out her name is Audrey) was not that smart. She obviously realizes slowly but surely something is wrong with the vacation she and her husband (who has been married twice before her) is on. I wanted to ask girl do you even Hitchcock or what?
The flow in this one was not as great as the first two either. The story just builds and builds and we all get talks about goats, turtles, etc. on the Galapagos Island (yes I am serious) which I am sure symbolically were supposed to represent the wife, but guess what i am not in English Lit senior class anymore and I don't feel like trying to interpret people, words, or things. The ending still left things somewhat in the air. But since I am a Stephen King woman I went the dark route and just said ah well so that's how that ended and went about my day.
"Big Momma" (1 star)-apparently this and the previous story were stories of naive women/young girls. I am too tired to even get into this, but a girl befriends someone whose family would make Leatherface's family cringe from. There is obviously something not right there. So yeah the ending was a foregone conclusion and I just kind of went, okay moving on.
"Mystery, Inc." (3 stars)- Look, I love bookstores too, enough to kill for one though.....okay no. I am going to go with no.
But reading the unraveling of one man named Charles Brockden who is going to do whatever is necessary to acquire this bookstore. The guy ends up I guess blundering on (or not) and at least in this story, we can 100 percent guess at the ending.
For a book with words other tales of terror I am surprised this wasn't more scary. I liked all of the stories well enough, but not enough to read them again. 3 stars.
Look I was one of the few and the proud who did not like "The Girl on the Train." I read that book and guessed at the ending pretty early on. Too bad "The Woman in Cabin 10" pretty much follows "The Girl on the Train" model though the author changes up things slightly here and there.
We once again have the story taking place in London. The main character Lo works at a travel magazine called Variety and is set to go off on a week long cruise on a new cruise ship where the crew and captain will be there to pamper the guests.
Prior to leaving for the trip, Lo is attacked in her own home after coming home intoxicated (readers quickly find out that Lo is pretty much always intoxicated) and this attack leads to her anxiety disorder getting increasingly worse. Lo still goes on the trip and after settling into her cabin, asks to borrow mascara from the woman in cabin 10. Lo ends up not seeing the woman later on while at the first night's dinner, however after fighting off the advances of an ex boyfriend, drinking so much that it would fell a large dog, she awakens in the middle of the night to a scream and then a splash. Lo believes the woman in cabin 10 was murdered and when it comes to light that cabin 10 is empty and no one on the ship matches Lo's description of the murder, Lo is quick to see enemies at every turn.
The book goes back and forth a lot between Lo's past here and there, but it is a long slow grind. I am sure the author did this to have it in the reader's head that perhaps Lo is mentally disturbed. But you know what undoes all of that? The fact the author in between certain chapters chose to have emails/message board comments/newspaper articles that show that Lo's partner and the rest of her family are concerned that she has gone missing and has not contacted anyone since the ship has set sail. So you as a reader know right away that something is up and you just keep reading til you get to the end for a not so great reveal.
This story really wasn't so much unreliable narrator as much as TSTL character running around throughout this book. Lo sounds like she has a lot of problems and how she is able to even function most of the time due to all of the drinking she is doing surprised me. Heck, at least with Girl on the Train the main character conveniently kept blacking out all of the time.
Lo is also going through days of not sleeping and even when she dozes, it is only for an hour or two. She seems to have ears that can hear above a motor on a large cruise ship that would allow her to hear someone scream (her window wasn't open so still wondering on that) and then she could hear a splash. I just got boating around Greece this summer. Guess what, even on the catamaran I was on, the boat was loud when we were not sailing. The motor is loud and I couldn't hear anyone unless they were directly on top of me on the upper deck sunbathing. Otherwise all you hear is a lot of noise. I sure as heck wouldn't have been able to hear a splash of a body hitting the water either.
Lo treats everyone suspiciously to the point I thought she should be carrying around a sign that read "Think you could be murderer" because for a supposed writer/journalist she was terrible at asking questions and investigating. She just drank and accused. And then got angry she wasn't being believed by a poor guy who did respond to her initial call about what she heard and then with her ex boyfriend who was also on board.
There is not really any development with any other character. We got Lo and that's about it. We have other characters in this story but Ware doesn't really try to go into detail with them at all. We know Lo's partner Judah loves her for reasons that are still unclear to me. She is a pain in the butt. Lo is angry at Ben for breaking up with her 10 years earlier, but you have to wonder how the heck they stayed together as long based on everything we hear about what was going on with Lo.
We have several suspects, but we don't get to spend much time with them really besides Lo's ex. I found myself longing for an Agatha Christie book while reading because with Dame Christie we would have had so many nuances in the writing and the description of people, the food, and the layout of the cabins.
The writing was so-so. There is a lot of discussion of drinking. I like gin but after reading this book I am off of it for a while. I really do wonder if the author did any reconnaissance to luxury cruise ships or yachts though. Some of the things that were described on the boat seemed like a huge risk due to swells (there is mention of two huge chandeliers with swarovski crystal crystals on them) she also mentions hidden doors all over the place to the point that I feel like this boat must have four different levels to it which doesn't make a lot of sense, but maybe if the author had added a diagram or something somewhere that would have made it easier for me to picture it in my mind and also to figure out where everyone was located.
The flow was so slow. I think at one point the only reason why I kept reading as long as I did (I finished this around 2 am and finally dropped off) was because I just wanted to get to the ending. Everything was taking way too long to get going and I should not be rooting for the main character to be murdered to make things interesting (yes I was bored throughout).
The ending was a mess. I don't want to reveal to potential readers, but I guessed at things throughout and I ended up being 90 percent right, (Agatha Christie reader here) the only thing that I guessed wrong at is that once again Lo does not seem that bright and just seemed to go along with things.
Finished "Gun Accident: An Investigation" and now "Equatorial". Both of them were very well done.
"Gun Accident" showcases a young girl trying to take care of her favorite teacher's pet, plants, and home while she is gone who has an older cousin come by to make trouble.
"Equatorial" is about a woman realizing that she may be running out of time while vacationing with her husband.
Well hello Girl on the Boat. What do we have, another woman who is a barely functioning alcoholic who has anxiety issues who somehow on a loud moving cruise ship hears a woman next door scream and a splash and believes the woman in Cabin 10 next to her has been murdered. Too bad cabin 10 is empty. I think I lost brain cells reading this. The answer was right there, oh hello murderer with a terrible plan, how nice to meet you. Oh hello rip off Agatha Christie where there unfortunately is no Jane Marple or Hercule Poirot to just wrap this mess up in ten minutes.