Wondrous Words #429

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

I found this word in an article on Politico about California politics and sexual harassment charges.

Bicameral: Her committee is planning three hearings on sexual harassment and has invited Senate leaders to participate in a bicameral process.

Bicameral is an adjective and refers to a legislative body. It means having two branches or chambers in the legislature.

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That’s all for me this week. Don’t forget to visit Kathy for more Wondrous Words Wednesday.

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First Paragraph: The Mothers

Every Tuesday Vicki at I’d Rather Be At the Beach shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.

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Today I’m featuring The Mothers by Brit Bennett, an upcoming book club discussion book. Here’s how it begins:

One

We didn’t believe when we first heard because you know how church folk can gossip.

Like the time we all thought First John, our head usher, was messing around on his wife because Betty, the pastor’s secretary, caught him cozying up at brunch with another woman. A young, fashionable woman at that, one who switched her hips when she walked even though she had no business switching anything in front of a man married for forty years.

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

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Weekly Review

Welcome to my weekly review. I’ve have just read two amazingly good books this week. One book, Blood On Snow, I read for an upcoming book club meeting. Its my first reading of a Jo Nesbo book. I was blown away, but I’m going to save that book and tell you about it after the meeting.

The other amazing book I read was Magpie Murder. The author, Anthony Horowitz, is a good mystery writer with his cleverly hidden clues, flawed characters and a perfect English village.  But, the one thing that makes this truly amazing is the design of the story.

The book opens with a discussion by the editor of “Magpie Murders.” She tells us a little about herself, the author and then introduces the novel to us. The story of Magpie Murders is told in it’s entirety, except for the last chapter. At this point the editor comes back with a whole new story and a whole new set of characters. But wait – is this story and these new characters somehow linked to the story and characters in Magpie Murders?

Do you see why I call it amazing? The unusual design was fun, but I also loved the classic English village style murder mystery and all the nods to Agatha Christie. All settings were contemporary, but it still had that mid-twentieth century feel to it. My only complaint was with the “editor.” I thought she could have edited her sections down a bit. At one point I jthought it was going on too long. Other than that, I loved the book and recommend it to all lovers of the mystery genre and, in particular, Agatha Christie fans.

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Back in 2011/12 I was a part of a four-person blog named Quirky Girls Read. We had great fun, but disbanded after a year or so. Some of the book reviews I wrote there need to be preserved on this blog. In particular I wanted all of my Louise Penny book reviews all together here. Below is the only one not on this blog. Here’s what I thought of Fatal Grace:

The star in Louise Penny’s novels is Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, along with his team. They are back in Three Pines, Quebec. They work for the Quebec Sûreté and this is the second time they’ve been assigned to a case of suspicious death in the small village south of Montreal.

C.C. de Poitiers was a very nasty, self-absorbed creature who was trying to launch her career as a “Life-Style/Spiritual Guidance Designer.” But, she was cruel to everyone she knew, including her husband, daughter, lover, local residents, and virtually everyone she knew. As you can probably figure out, she was the victim.

C.C. was electrocuted on Boxing Day while watching an outdoor curling match. Details of how she was electrocuted in the midst of sub-zero conditions, was quite the puzzle. Since everyone wanted this woman dead, the mystery is who was smart enough to figure it out and how, exactly, did they pull it off. Gamache and his team had a tough job, but of course they were able. I like each one of these  team members.

What makes Louise Penny’s stories so amazing for me, and obviously for many others, is the author’s ability to create characters with so much depth and to infuse the story with more than just a mystery. In Fatal Grace we see inside the relationship of three old friends, the psyche of an abused child, the minor irritations of a married couple, a little dose of poetry and a bit about art. And, if that’s not enough, there’s also a little sub-plot with the Chief Inspector’s team that carried over from the first book.

I find it hard to write or talk about a special book like this one without resorting to a flood of overworked adjectives. You’ll have to trust me on this one – Fatal Grace is superb. If you are a person who likes to read literary novels, you won’t be disappointed. If mystery is your favorite genre, you must read anything by Louise Penny. Each novel can stand alone, however, I recommend starting with her first book, Still Life. Then, when you read Fatal Grace, you’ll understand why Louise Penny has so many avid fans.

That’s it for me this week. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week ahead. Happy Reading!

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Wondrous Words #428

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

I found this word while reading Sworn To Silence by Linda Castillo. Prepare yourself. This is icky.

exsanguination: “The cause of death is exsanguination,” said the coroner.

Exsanguination (ekˌsaNGɡwəˈnāSHən) is the action of draining a person, animal, or organ of blood. It could also be a severe loss of blood.

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That’s all for me this week. Don’t forget to visit Kathy for more Wondrous Words Wednesday.

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First Paragraph: Y Is For Yesterday

Every Tuesday Vicki at I’d Rather Be At the Beach shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.

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I’ve so enjoyed this long-running series. I’m sad that, due to the death of the author, this title will be the last one. Rest in peace, Sue Grafton, and thanks for all the pleasure you gave us. Here’s the first paragraph:

 

THE THEFT
January 1979

Iris stood at the counter in the school office, detention slip in hand, anticipating a hand-smack from Mr. Lucas, the vice-principal. She’d already seen him twice since her enrollment at Climping Academy the previous fall. The first time, she’d been turned in for cutting PE. The second time, she’d been reported for smoking outside study hall. She’d been advised there was a smoking area set aside specifically for students, which she argued was on the far side of campus and impossible to get to between classes. That fell on deaf ears. This was now early January and she’d been reported for violating the school’s dress code.

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

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A Look At My Week

Hi everyone. Thanks for joining me. I’ve just had a great week of crime – crime reading, that is. Let me tell you about the two books I read.

A few months ago I read Breaking Silence, book number three in Linda Casillo’s Amish Mystery series. I liked it so much that I decided to read more. The library didn’t have every book in the series, but they did have the first book, Sworn To Silence.

The main character, is the Chief of Police, Kate Burkholder. She has a gruesome job in this opening story. A serial killer has returned to the area after many years and he is killing young women and carving Roman numerals into their skin to indicate the number of victims. There are very few clues to lead the police in any direction at all.

I enjoyed this book as much as I did the other one. They are a little gory and contain quite a few swear words, but it’s a good (fictionalized) small-town crime story.

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One of the things I like about Michael Connelly’s books is that they all take place in Southern California, a place I know fairly well. In the author’s newest book. Two Kinds Of Truth (Harry Bosch #30) most of it takes place in the small town where I went to high school—San Fernando. I knew exactly where he was when he said, “I headed out on Roscoe and turned left on Laurel Canyon.” I was right there in the story.

Harry is now a part-time Reserve Officer, a detective working mostly on cold cases. The “cold” case he’s involved in is one coming from the Los Angeles Police Department, an organization that hasn’t treated him well in the past although Harry has been one of their top detectives. This time they are saying he planted evidence in a murder case that occurred decades ago. Harry brings in his half-brother, Michey Hallr, the famous Lincoln Lawyer. (I loved this section of the story!)

The second part of Harry’s experience in this book is a double murder at a San Fernando pharmacy. The investigation opens the gates to a portion of the opiod problem I had never heard before. Its both shocking and distressing. When Harry goes undercover into this world I was scared for him.

Obviously, I loved Two Kinds of Truth. If you are also a Harry Bosch fan, don’t miss this one. F-word warning: there are plenty of them, but it is a crime novel.

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Away From the Blog:

My husband and I went to the theater to see Darkest Hour. This movie is the story of Winston Churchill in the early days of World War II. Actually, it started as the government asks Winston Churchill to step into the role of Prime Minister. Mr Churchill was reluctant, but agreed for the good of the country.

As you will remember, Hitleris moving to close in on Western Europe and then it is expected they would invade the British Isles. Some of the government’s leaders are urging Mr. Churchill to attend peace talks with Hitler and Mussolini. Everything within Mr. Churchill fights at the idea of doing that. The rest of the film covers that struggle and final decision.

This is a beautiful and inspiring look at the character of Mr. Churchill. Gary Oldman (seen on the left) does a superb job of taking on the character. I thought he looked very similar to Mr. Churchill. That’s really Gary Oldman on the right. His British accent sounded perfect to my ears too. Mr. Oldman has been nominated for an Oscar. There are five mire nominations for this movie including Best Movie. I strongly recommend seeing this one, especially if you are a history buff or enjoy really good acting.

That’s it for me today. Have a great week ahead. Happy Reading/Movie Watching.

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Wondrous Words #427

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog  

Yesterday I saw this new-to-me word on Cleo’s Blog (Cleopatra Loves Books) as I was reading the first paragraph of a book she was featuring.

bespoke: I have spent some of my happiest hours in recent months arranging them on the bespoke bookcases I had built under the sloping ceiling of my study for their ease and comfort.

According to my New Oxford American Dictionary bespoke means made to order.

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That’s all for me this week. Don’t forget to visit Kathy for more Wondrous Words Wednesday.

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First Paragraph: Sworn To Silence by Linda Castillo

Every Tuesday Vicki at I’d Rather Be At the Beach shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.

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Ever since I discovered this author and her Amish murder mystery series I’m eager to collect them all. The book below is Sworn To Silence, the first book in the series. Here’s how it begins:

 

Chapter One

The cruiser’s strobes cast red and blue light onto winter dead trees. Officer T.J. Banks pulled the car onto the shoulder and flipped on the spotlight, running the beam along the edge of the field where corn stalks shivered in the cold. Twenty yards away, six Jersey cows stood in the bar ditch, chewing their cud.

 

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

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Weekly Review

Hi everyone. Thanks for stopping by. I had another great reading week. Let me share it with you.

Last weekend I read A City of Veils by Zoe Ferreris as my book choice for the Monthly Motif Challenge. This month’s motif was to read diversely. This book certainly took me out of my comfort zone. It’s a murder mystery set in Saudi Arabia. The body of a young woman was found dead on a beach, her identity unknown. In a possibly related matter is the missing husband of an American woman.

What is truly fascinating and educational is how something like investigating a crime can be when trying to navigate through this system of hidden women—women who are kept at home and hidden under burqas (garment covering the body from head to toe, including the face) when in public. Women fear being arrested by the religious police for a variety of reasons such as their burqa slipping and exposing part of their face. As Saudi Arabia experiences more outside influence there is the desire on the part of some of the women to move beyond the traditional roles of wife and mother. One of the main characters, Katya, is a Forensic scientist, but she struggles to be taken seriously.

Detecting the source of the crime is a interesting a journey and watching the femine problems in this story. I highly recommend City of Veils.

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After reading City of Veils I had to work through my feminist frustrations by turning to this next book. First I saw Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi on a TED Talk. She was talking about feminism and I became a fan. Then I read the author’s novel, Americanah. I picked that book as one of my favorite books of the year. My oldest daughter was paying attention and, for Christmas, she gave me a copy of We Should All Be Feminists. This little book was just what I needed.

When Ms. Adichi speaks of the girls in her native Nigeria, it’s easy to see the need for feminist vigor. But when I look at the world as a whole I have to agree that we should care about making sure all of our girls, actually all females have the advantages we offer to our boys and men. It’s about being fair. I encourage you to find a copy of this little 49 page gem.

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I also managed to listen to the audiobook Belgravia. It’s my first time reading a Julian Fellowes novel. I’ve watched Downton Abbey several times, but have never read the book. There is no doubt that Belgravia is a Julian Fellowes novel. It contains the classic upstairs-downstairs drama along with the rising tension between the upper classes and the growing group of nouveau riche industrial class. At the heart of the story is a secret held tightly for generations by two families. The writing was not very descriptive. It felt more like an outline for a screen play or perhaps a PBS series. I can see the costumes and mansions now.

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Away From the Blog:

Last Monday my husband and I went to see Hostiles, the latest Western staring Christian Bale. My husband is a big fan of Western movies, but they have been rare in the last few decades. We went hoping it would be good. My husband really liked it. I thought it was good, but not great. I thought the main actor mumbled a lot so I didn’t catch everything said. We both liked the story. Basically, an army captain is ordered to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family back to their native area. It requires traveling through very dangerous territory. There is violence, but then that’s the hallmark of every Western.

Our grandson caught the cold that has been passed around at his preschool so we stepped in while his parents were at work for a couple of days. The one thing that kept him quiet and occupied was a whole series of puzzles. One day we put together six different puzzles. We did everything from 35 to 100 pieces. The red dog above is one I love because of the colors. TJ loves a funny one of a pirate ship during laundry day. There are no straight edges. Its all various curves. Its a little challenging, but not impossible.

That’s all for this week. Have a great week ahead. Happy Reading.

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