Friday, March 20, 2015

This is What I'm Reading on Freaky Friday

It's Freaky Friday astronomically speaking; it's the day when all sorts of things are happening in the sky - solar eclipse, super Moon, spring equinox  (first day of Spring).  I am reading The Midwife's Tale by Sam Thomas.

Will, a minor character in the story says, "... Parliament accuses the King of tyranny, the King calls Parliament rebels. Wives are murdering their husbands, and mothers discarding their infants into privies - the world is on its head." I have entered into Will's world and I am finding this historical novel very interesting.

The setting is York in 1644 during the reign of King Charles 1. The dialogue is realistic.  The story-line is fascinating. The protagonist is Lady Bridget Hodgson, a very bold and independent widow, who is also the midwife. The story is told from her point of view. After reading this book, readers will get a clear picture of how women, servants and those with physical disabilities were treated during this period. The midwife is quietly investigating whether or not her friend Esther Cooper murdered her husband Stephen Cooper.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Our Book Club Selections 2015

It's been a while. Let me share a list of the books we have read and discussed this year and of those we intend to read:

February 20
The King’s Deception by Steve Berry
Interesting premise in this story, what if Queen Elizabeth 1 were really a male in disguise? Was this why she never married? Reference is made to Bram Stoker's book, The Imposters, which is all about this royal conspiracy. 

March 20
The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman 
This was a sad story but I could not put this book down.  Two people meet as their grandchildren get married.  The grandfather of the groom recognizes the grandmother of the bride.  They have a history together in Prague and were separated because of Nazi occupation.   This story is based on the real life situation of couple, the writer heard about, who were married before World War 11, separated and reunited at a wedding. 

April 17
MidWife's Tale (Midwife's Mysteries #1) by Sam Thomas.  
Oh boy, sounds like I am about to embark on another mystery series. Harlot's Tale is the second in the series followed by Witch Hunter's Tale . Amazon says this series is similar to the historical fiction by  C. J. Sansom; the  Matthew Shardlake series.

May 15
The Oath by John Lescroart 

Have you read any of these? Please share.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Louise Penny's Book #10: Cosmic Speculation, Cosmic Fact

I am on book #10 in the Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny titled The Long Way Home . Would you believe I started the first book, Still Life, in 2011 with Okefenokee Book Club? By the way,  I just watched the movie, Still Life, available on Netflix.

For me, Penny's books got better and better. I have been following Armand Gamache and the folks in Three Pines for three years so you know I am hooked.

This book is holding my interest. I still love the quirky characters in Three Pines, Canada. I love Penny's humor. I love how Penny weaves poetry and art in the story but I have to say the story is lacking something, je ne sais quoi. Perhaps I feel something is lacking because so far no murder has occurred. I am on page 197.

The focus in this book is on Peter Morrow, the artist who became jealous of his own wife's success as an artist. Peter is missing. There are hints that he may be dead. (Book 7, A Trick of the Light, is the one that featured Clara Morrow as a successful artist.) In this book, Armand Gamache is no longer Chief Inspector of the Surete, he retired and resides in Three Pines. He and Jean Guy are using their skills and resources to assist Clara in the search for Peter.

In the search for Peter, Louise Penny has taken readers on a journey that includes The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, created by Charles and Maggie Jencks in Dumfries, Scotland. The journey also takes us to a crater formed by a meteor 350 million years ago that has been transformed into Charlevoix in Quebec, Canada. On page 196, Peter's travel from Scotland to Quebec is represented as Peter's travel from cosmic speculation to cosmic fact.

Cosmic and magic are two words mentioned repeatedly.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Our November Book Club Selection: the Eccentric King Ludwig

Our November book, Ludwig Conspiracy by Oliver Potzsch, (last name pronounced "perch"), is not from the Hangman's Daughter series; one of my favorite series. I have not started reading it yet but I know it is supposed to be of the Dan Brown type of historical fiction/mystery.  Potzsch apparently focuses on the mysterious death of an eccentric King of Bavaria, a man widely considered to have been insane. I am eager to get started on this book.

By the way, there is a castle used by Disney which is modeled after one of King Ludwig's castles.

Here is another book I intend to read and suggest for the book club for 2015, have you read it? It's the All the Light We Cannot See  by Anthony Doerr set in Germany and France before and during World War 11. Please give me feedback if you have read it.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Our Book Club Selections October 2013 - October 2014

A year of reading with my Book Club. We do not meet in December. In January we usually meet and discuss books that we read and enjoyed during the Christmas break. This year we missed a meeting in July and discussed that book in August.  How many titles on our list have you read?

2013

October: Blood of the Prodigal; an Amish Mystery by P.L. Gaus.

November : Open and Shut by David Rosenfelt 

2014
February: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

March: Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls

April: Last Message by Shane Peacock

May: Sycamore Row by John Grisham

June:  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

July:  Fault in Our Stars by John Green

August: The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

September: Tyrant’s Daughter by J. C. Carleson

October: Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

The book selections that were my least favorite were Fault in Our Stars and Half Broke Horses. My favorite selections were Bel Canto , The Husband's Secret, and Gone Girl. 

 Next Month's Book Selection

November : Ludwig Conspiracy by Oliver Potzsch 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I'm Reading "Orange is the New Black"

I am reading Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman and she is giving me an inside look at life in a women's prison. Most people I have spoken to have heard of the made for TV version with the lesbian scenes and the overabundance of using-the-toilet scenes but they didn't know it was based on a book by Piper. The book is not exactly like the TV version. The characters are there Pop, Vanessa, Pennsatucky, "Crazy Eyes", Yoga Janet but not their back story as in the movie. The anecdotes in the book are not as dramatic and colorful or sexual as on TV.

I am on page 199 and the inmates are upset about this article written by Lynn Tuohy in 2004 that gives the impression that life in the Danbury Camp was like living in a big hotel. The informant gives the impression that the soon-to-be-imprisoned Martha Stewart would fit right in with all the classy inmates.  Piper, on the other hand, described the prison as a ghetto for the poor, uneducated and unskilled. In her opinion there was a revolving door between the ghetto where the poor, uneducated and unskilled lived on the outside and the ghetto in the prison system.  Turned out that the authorities really did not want Martha at Danbury anyway; there would be too much media focus on the conditions of the prison.

I am enjoying the book. Piper is great at expressing her emotions mainly her worry and humiliation but also her pleasure. She worried about her family and fiance and how her going to prison would affect them. She expressed her pleasure when receiving visitors in prison. She wrote of her pain and humiliation after seeing the prison gynecologist. Also, Piper has a lot of opinions about the prison system. I would rate this 4 out of 5.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

In a World of Peculiars, Hollows, Wights, Ymbrynes

I am in a time loop in a world of peculiars; disaffected peculiars, who wanted to become immortal and instead turned into hollows;wights, who are in a purgatory-like state, and ymbrynes,who protect peculiar children and who can transform into birds. In this time loop, the peculiars relive the same day every day so they never age. The protagonist, Jacob, can pass through the loop freely from the present to the past and back again.

I am reading the fantasy fiction of Ransom Riggs titled, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, written for young adults. I like the pictures in the book because they make the story seem real, seem possible. The cover is great because it is creepy. I was expecting a scary ghost story but it is more about adventure. We don't get the 100 year old history of the hollows and wights until page 254 close to the end of the book.

I would rate this book 31/2 stars out of 5 even though I have not finished reading it. I find the resolution is taking too long. I am on page 323 and am rushing to complete the end. I like most of what I have read but am not committed enough to this story. This is not one I would recommend for members of my book club. When I get to the end, I will determine  if I want to read the follow up book, Hollow City.