books I've read

Anne Hawn's books

Who Moved My Cheese?
If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans
Scientific Secrets for Self-Control
Just One Damned Thing After Another
The Vanishing
Exercises in Knitting
The Good Dream
The Very Best of Edgar Allan Poe
The Chosen
BT-Kids' Knits
Talking God
The Professor
The Christmas Files
The Finisher
Home Decor for 18-Inch Dolls: Create 10 Room Settings with Furniture and 15 Outfits with Accessories
Dracula and Other Stories
A New Song
Christy
All Quiet on the Western Front
File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents


Anne Hawn Smith's favorite books »

I'm reading 30,000 pages.

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Moor


The Moor (Mary Russell, #4)The Moor by Laurie R. King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this in stops and starts, but it still hung together very well.  Laurie King really captures the Sherlock Holmes that Doyle presented and the character of Mary Russell is believable and a complement to Holmes.

In this book, Baskerville Hall is revisited because of mysterious sights of a hound and a spectral carriage which was seen on the moor.  When a person turns up dead, a local rector, an actual person, calls in Sherlock Holmes.  There is a new owner of Baskerville Hall and he has a mysterious secretary with him.

The plot twists and turns and there is a lot of interesting information on the people who live on the moor and those in the villages surrounding it which adds dimension to the book.


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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sand Sharks


Sand Sharks (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #15)Sand Sharks by Margaret Maron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars




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End of the Year

As this year comes to a close, I realize that I have not done reviews for about 80% of what I have read.  I have many of them in Goodreads, but my computer has been acting up for so long, I have gotten way behind in my posting.  In the next few days, I am going to use my library book due slips to at least record what I have read.

I am pleased with the reading I have done this year.  I have read several books by Dickens and finished a number of series books I wanted to read.  On the other hand, I still have many books around my house that I want to get read and donated to the library, (so I can make room for more books!)

The Twisted Root


The Twisted Root (William Monk, #10)The Twisted Root by Anne Perry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was one of the best of this series that I have read.  It would be hard to guess the ending of this one through 3/4 of tyounhe book.  An admirable young woman was engaged to a wealthy and quiet younger man, when suddenly, at a croquet party, she flees in obvious distress.  She has a coachman drive her away and later, he is found dead and she has disappeared.

When eventually found, she will say nothing about why she left and is loath to return.  She was found with a nurse who took her in when she was found, about 13 years old wandering in the heath covered with blood.  The nurse is one of the nurses at the hospital where Callandra and Hester work and is one of the best they have.  When it appears that she is the one stealing supplies from the pharmacy, Hester gets involved.

The story, as usual, gives fascinating information about the plight of nursing and the male-dominated Victorian era in which Hester, Oliver and William Monk live. Anne Perry does her usual good job of showing the cost of progress for the poor and for women.


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Friday, December 21, 2012

The Murders of Richard III


The Murders of Richard IIIThe Murders of Richard III by Elizabeth Peters
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was hard for me to get into.  I just never could connect with the characters.  It did give a glimpse into the controversy over Richard III.  I was amazed that there was evidence that seemed to conflict with the popular portrayal of Richard.


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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Locked Rooms


Locked Rooms (Mary Russell, #8)Locked Rooms by Laurie R. King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is part of the Mary Russell series that explores her past in San Francisco and the death of her parents, for whom she always felt responsible.  She and her brother were quarreling in the car when her father turned to them and in a moment's inattention, lost control of the car and plunged over a cliff.  Everyone in the car was killed but Mary  and she has always felt like she was guilty of their deaths.

On a trip back to San Francisco, she begins having flashbacks and detail about the crash and the earthquake come back to her.  The details don't add up and there is someone who doesn't want Mary to learn the truth.

This was one of the best books in this series.  Laurie King has been able to capture the essence of Sherlock Holmes as Doyle presented him and these books flow as if they had been been penned by him.


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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, #1)


Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, #1)Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am reading this series again because I am using it for homeschooling my granddaughter.  It is an excellent adventures series with a lot of interesting twists.

Gregor follows his 2 year old sister down a hole behind the washing machines in his apartment laundry room.  They end up in a world that has existed under the world we know of since the earliest days of America.  There is a race of humans who are his descendants.  They are very pale and have violet eyes, but the are otherwise the same as the Overlanders.

In their palace, there is a room of prophecies and it appears that Gregor and his sister are the Overlanders whose coming was predicted, but they aren't the first ones to come down from above.  Gregor's father has been missing for about 3 years and Gregor learns that he had been taken by the rats, but there is some indication that he is alive.


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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Breach of Promise


A Breach of Promise (William Monk, #9)A Breach of Promise by Anne Perry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was one of the best book of this series that I've read.  I was totally broadsided twice by the plot turns and yet they were plausible.  Oliver Rathbone took a "Breach of Promise" case against his better judgement.  He is representing a brilliant young architect who seems to have entered into a marriage agreement without realizing it.  What he experiences as a wonderful friendship is interpreted by the young girl's mother as a marriage proposal and wedding plans were already proceeding before he realizes that everyone believes he has proposed.  Unfortunately, the family sues and Rathbone is left with absolutely nothing to say in court except that it was a misunderstanding.

There seems to be no solution to this problem or to a subplot and they twist and meander until a stunning conclusion.  There is also a surprise in the ongoing relationship between the main characters.


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Saturday, December 08, 2012

Helping Gifted Children Soar: A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers by Carol Ann Strip


Helping Gifted Children Soar: A Practical Guide for Parents and TeachersHelping Gifted Children Soar: A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers by Carol Ann Strip
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book when I first started teaching Addie and read it again in December.  The information in the first chapters which discuss the gifted child's unique learning style has proved to be true.  My granddaughter does most of the things mentioned.  For example, being able to picture lists of vocabulary words in her head and check them off as they appear in an oral test, unusual reasoning processes and the ability to synthesize information and apply it to other situations.

The rest of the book deals with getting a gifted child's needs met in the public school setting.  In almost every example of a problem and possible solution I found that homeschooling eliminated the problem.  For example, we are able to make all my granddaughter's work appropriately challenging and are able to present work that she doesn't like to do in a way that makes it more interesting.  We have included Home Economics as a hobby/subject and it provides us with an infinite number of math reasoning, creativity, understanding and writing complicated step-by-step instructions as well as a vehicle for creativity.

As suggested in the book, we are able to teach units such as Opera, Self discipline, Political Science (in an election year), and reading units based on classical literature which preserves the interest level of a child with the vocabulary and history of a much older student.

I recommend this book to parents who have a gifted child and choose to stay in the public school system.  There are many solutions to the most common problems and give a reasonable approach to dealing with school officials in a reasonable manner.


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Friday, December 07, 2012

The Great Cake Mystery


The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe's Very First CaseThe Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe's Very First Case by Alexander McCall Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a charming story of Precious Ramotswe's first case involving a schoolmate who has been accused of eating from from the other children's lunches.

It is written for children, but fan's of the First Ladies series will enjoy the book.


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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The Mermaid Chair


The Mermaid ChairThe Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I wanted to like this book, but I just didn't.  I hate books that have a female protagonist who trys to get a celibate cleric to break his vowes and sleep with her.  There is this idea nowdays that no one can have a fulfilling life without sex.  Come on!  There are people who are passionate about other things...God, medicine, scholarship, research, dangerous persuits.

Then I hate the idea that it is in some way noble to steer a person away from his or her vows, especially if they involve sex.  This is especially true of someone who has chosen to be celibate, although to encourage a person to engage in adultry is bad enough.

The vows of a person should be respected.  Would it be noble to encourage a recovering alcoholic to drink?  Would it be noble to encourage an adult who struggles with a desire for young girls or boys to fulfill those desires?  To encourage a person to break their vows is completely selfish and entirely self absorbed. It isn't romantic to think that someone wants you so badly that they broke their vows, or that somehow the love was so strong it had to be acted on. Tell that to Mrs. Eddie Fisher or Mrs. Richard Burton!  And did those relationships last?

Sorry to rant!  This one just hit me wrong.


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Bel Canto


Bel CantoBel Canto by Ann Patchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked so much about this book.  I realize that it had many improbable moments, but I liked the concept of music being a common ground between people.  The terrorists became people in the book and developed a relationship with their hostages.

There were some things I wished were changed.  I know it is based loosly on a similar situation in Peru.  I would like to have the reasons these people became terrorists explored more.  I think it would have made the individual relationships more explainable.  What did the three generals believe in?  We get only a vague hint at their demmands.  We hear a lot about the other lives of the hostages, but the terrorists, especially the generals seemed to have no platform.

As with others, I did not like the epilogue.  There wasn't enough to support it.  There needed to be more of a connection built up between Roxane and Gen; a bond that would have made it plausable for the two, who had just lost their lovers, to turn to each other.  I could see them realizing that they never would be able to relate to anyone but each other because of this common experience, but there wasn't any understructure to support this.

That said, I felt like it was a wonderful book and I loved reading it.  It sent me to my computer to find the "Bel Canto" of the book.  I listened to many of the pieces of music that was mentioned and loved the ones that were familiar and enjoyed the ones I had never heard.  I can understand how people who would have had no interest in Opera could have loved Roxane's singing.  Once you enter into the music, you have to be amazed at the incredible beauty of the talented and well trained human voice.


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Sunday, December 02, 2012

Crewel Yule


Crewel Yule (A Needlecraft Mystery, #8)Crewel Yule by Monica Ferris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a light, enjoyable, if improbable mystery.  It takes place at a Needlework convention when one of the most belligerent attendees is murdered. It is a good quick read, especially at the holidays.


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Friday, November 16, 2012

Ballykissangel: The New Arrival


Ballykissangel: The New ArrivalBallykissangel: The New Arrival by Hugh Miller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don't know how to rate this book. If you haven't seen the series, it is a nice cozy book.  If you have seen the series, it is more like a screen play.  The dialog is taken right from the script.  I was hoping for some more depth to the characters and some additional story lines, but nothing was there.  If you were a devoted fan of the series, there isn't much point in reading the book.


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Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Girl with the Botticelli Eyes


The Girl with the Botticelli EyesThe Girl with the Botticelli Eyes by Herbert Lieberman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a little hard to get started, but once I got into it, it was very interesting. The premise is that a killer is murdering young women and carving out their eyes.  At the same time, there is a major show of Botticelli which is being planned by a curator on the way up.  He is trying to arrange to get a descendant of one of Botticelli's young models who resembles her to come to the exhibition. The two stories merge in a dramatic and life changing way.


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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Winter Study (Anna Pigeon Mysteries, #14)

Winter Study (Anna Pigeon Mysteries, #14)Winter Study by Nevada Barr

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This rating is actually 2-1/2 stars. I was very disappointed in this book. I found it to be more thriller than a good mystery and there was too much violence and disgusting sexual content. I hesitate to say that because there will be those who say that anyone who objects to such content is prudish, but this seems to be a substitute for a well drawn mystery that proceeds from character traits of the perpetrator.

Anna Pigeon has come to Isle Royale in Lake Superior to learn about managing and understanding wolves because her Rocky Mountain National Park may soon have a pack of wolves introduced. She is joining a research team which is part of a 50 year old study of wolves and their behavior. The park has always been closed during the winter for the study, but Homeland Security is considering opening the park to supposedly close a weak border where terrorists may enter the country. They have sent a consultant to report on that possibility.

Shortly after Anna’s arrival, the team discovers evidence that a huge wolf has been seen and there is DNA evidence that it is a cross between dog and wolf, which they call a “Wog.” This animal has been mysteriously introduced and has a behavior pattern foreign to the 3 packs that are already on the island. When a researcher is killed, Anna is no longer studying the wolf packs and becomes a detective and it is at this point that the book degenerates into a sex and violence thriller with improbable behavior and bad language. I am very tired of books that substitute shock value for good writing.

The characters in this book are not well drawn and their roles as victim and killer are pretty evident from the beginning. The conclusion, I believe, is also very weak and does not proceed from the personality of the characters. There are so many places where this book seems to have great potential, but it just doesn’t make it. I hope this is not a trend for the future, because I really enjoy Nevada Barr’s books and would like to enjoy many more.





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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Dyer Consequences


Dyer Consequences (A Knitting Mystery, # 5)Dyer Consequences by Maggie Sefton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was a little lightweight and predictable, but just the right thing for a life of complications and sometimes chaos.  The story revolves around a murder and the friends who frequent the most wonderful yarn shop in the world.  It is nice to read about such a fantastic yarn heaven and dream of unlimited time to knit.


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Monday, November 05, 2012

The Silent Cry


The Silent Cry (William Monk, #8)The Silent Cry by Anne Perry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of the best in this series.  It is really hard to see where it is going until the end, but there is suspense all the way through it.


Two gentlemen lay bleeding in the seedier side of London, one dead and one dying.  They are covered in blood but their injuries don't account for the amount of blood.  The younger man lives, but is terribly injured and can no longer speak.  His hands are shattered and he can't communicate with writing either.  Hester Latterly is called to nurse the young man.

At the same time someone is beating up and raping women in Seven Dials and St. Giles.  The wife of a sweatshop owner comes to Monk to pay him to investigate who is doing this.   The women are not professional prostitutes, but young women who work in the factory for a pittance are forced to make a little money on the side to feed their children.  They are already beaten down by poverty and indifference and now someone is making their existence even more miserable.  The violence is escalating and it is just a matter of time before one of them is killed.

The two cases twist and turn towards each other as Evan investigates the former and Monk the latter.  At the same time, Monk is coming across street people who knew him when he and Runcorn patrolled these streets.  Throughout the book, he gets hints as to what he did to make Runcorn detest him so.  If you follow the series, this book pushes the story line much further along the line.


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Thursday, November 01, 2012

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey


The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #2)The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series of books was recommended by the Duke Talent Identification program for gifted kids.  It is a wonderful book and especially for gifted children who may have some difficulty understanding their intelligence which often puts a distance between them and their peers.  The children in the Mysterious Benedict Society are all gifted in different ways and they have to learn to accept the differences and making use of their individual gifts.

The story involves the apparent kidnapping of their mentor, Mr. Benedict, who had planned an interesting scavenger hunt for them, but ended up depending on the clues he left for the children to rescue him.


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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma


The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #3)The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this, the third book of the series, the children have grown and learned to value their own talents as well as their friends.  Because of the danger, the children are all confined to Mr. Benedict's house to keep them safe.  Suddenly Mr. Curtin, Nicholas' evil twin, has manage to take out the power system of Stonetown and the children are the only ones who can save the town.  The book is full of riddles and puzzles that the children use their unique intelligence to figure out.

This book explores the early story of Constance and helps the children understand her.  I didn't like the fact that she could control minds though.  All of the children are gifted in some way, but all of the abilities are natural like having a photographic memory or the ability to solve problems in creative ways.  Mind control does not fit and moves the book from a series that profoundly gifted children can relate to fantacy.


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Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Mysterious Benedict Society


The Mysterious Benedict Society (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #1)The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a great book for kids and adults.  I am using it for homeschooling.  The book is about 4 extremely gifted orphaned children who answer an add for exceptional students.  Each of the children is exceptional in a different way and they work for the mysterious Nicholas Benedict to enroll in a sinister school also for orphans.  They are able to avert disaster while using their extraordinary talents.

Nicholas Benedict, whom they work for, suffers from narcolepsy as does the headmaster of the school they have infiltrtated.  Both are apt to nod off in times of excitement, strong emotion, and danger.  I did a little reading on the disease and the book is quite accurate on it's effects.

The story is fanciful but still plausible...if here was such a thing as a Benedict Society...and such a dastardly plot.  In other, the reader knows that the story couldn't possibly be real, but if it was, this is the way it would happen.


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Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict


The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #0.5)The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was the best book of the series.  It is a great book for gifted kids and adults, as well as any kid who likes to read.  Benedict's parents were scientists who were killed in an explosion.  He was taken by a relative who died and he was placed in a series of orphanages. He suffered from narcolepsy which often caused him to fall asleep whenever he experienced strong emotions or fear and he also suffered from night terrors which constantly awoke the other orphans. Being a genius, having a photographic memory, and being able to read a book in only a few minutes also set him apart from the other children.

His adjustment was at his latest orphanage was difficult and he was a target of bullies.  Eventually, he was able to use his genius to protect some of the other children and finally make friends.  The book is full of situations that seem insolvable, but Nicholas prevails and manages to carve out a niche for himself.


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Friday, October 12, 2012

The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia, #1)


The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia, #1)The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been using this book for homeschooling my granddaughter and it is wonderful.  I've read it aloud a number of times when my children were young and it is great to listen to myself.

We used the book for both Literature and Bible and there are some amazing Biblical concepts.  The loving creation of Narnia is especially moving and gives a exceptional picture of the creation of our world.  The issue of sin and forgiveness are also explored in a way children can understand it, but is profound for even an adult.  Diggory, one of the main characters disobeys a sign and sets in motion a score of negative consequences that can't be erased.  Later, he is given the chance to make a different choice to help counteract the first choice and wonderfully illustrates the concept of atonement.  The book is full of love, beauty and redemption, but it doesn't skirt the issue of evil and sin.


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Sunday, October 07, 2012

Weighed in the Balance


Weighed in the Balance (William Monk, #7)Weighed in the Balance by Anne Perry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn't like this as the rest in this series.  It dragged quite a bit and nothing much happened in the mystery until the last chapters.

The plot revolves about a case which Oliver Rathbone takes involving slander.  A Countess has said that the wife of the exiled heir to the throne of a small Germanic principality has killed him.  He have up his throne for his wife and lived in exile in Vienna.  Their story was a romance for the ages and no one can believe that his wife would kill him.

What I did find interesting was the information about the number of small kingdoms which were caught up in the unification of Germany.  I never thought about what it would mean for these kingdoms which had their own identity and history.  I have even gone to Bavaria, seen Neuschwanstein, and read the history of King Ludwig II and never thought what happened when Germany unified.  Some of the smaller kingdoms fought the Prussian army and others, realizing the futility of resisting, allowed themselves to become part of Germany.


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Saturday, October 06, 2012

Long Spoon Lane


Long Spoon Lane Long Spoon Lane by Anne Perry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was not one of my favorites.  For one thing, it dealt with anarchists and their political agenda, is not one I can relate to, or like to read about.  Of course, the anarchists are only a smoke screen and there is far more going on, but I just couldn't get into this one as well as the others.


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Death of a Chimney Sweep (Hamish Macbeth #27


Death of a Chimney Sweep (Hamish Macbeth #27)Death of a Chimney Sweep by M.C. Beaton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Could an affable local Chimney Sweep actually be a murder?  Hamish Macbeth thinks it's impossible and that there is more to it than meets the eye.  He's proven right when the chimney sweep is found dead also.  What's behind the murders?

This is a nice cozy mystery and a great audiobook where the text is read with all the appropriate accents.  I like this series because it is comfortable and you can always count on it.  If that sounds a little boring, I don't mean it to.  In the middle of books about Afghanistan or the Balkans, or other unsolvable real life situations, there is a place for wonderful books like this series.


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Friday, October 05, 2012

Death of a Valentine (Hamish Macbeth, #26)


Death of a Valentine (Hamish Macbeth, #26)Death of a Valentine by M.C. Beaton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is another book in the Hamish Macbeth series and is a little better than most, so I gave it an extra star.  That is mainly for the trip to the altar that it seems that Hamish can't possibly get out of.  Everything keep inspiring against him and this part of the mystery is actually more interesting than the real one.

These books play a role in my reading life.  They are entirely predictable and easy to listen to as an audiobook.  If I put one of these on my iPod, I can stick with a less than interesting, but necessary task around the house.  They are also a relief between weightier books.


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Thursday, October 04, 2012


The Mysterious Benedict Society: Mr. Benedict's Book of Perplexing Puzzles, Elusive Enigmas, and Curious ConundrumsThe Mysterious Benedict Society: Mr. Benedict's Book of Perplexing Puzzles, Elusive Enigmas, and Curious Conundrums by Trenton Lee Stewart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a great book for any child who loves to solve mysteries and to push themselves to do more with his or her mind.  The book is full of logic problems, codes and other puzzlers.


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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist (Agatha Raisin, #6)


Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist (Agatha Raisin, #6)Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist by M.C. Beaton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Agatha Raisin's marriage to James Lacy was ended before it began when her husband, whom she thought was dead, turned up.  Fortunately and unfortunately, he turned up dead and Agatha solved the murder.  Now she has headed for Greece where James retreated after the fiasco of a wedding.

While in Greece, a "terrible tourist" is murdered and she and James end up having to solve the murder before Agatha is killed.  All this is typical Agatha and the reader ends up wanting to kill her while hoping she escapes the clutches of the real murder.


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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist


Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist (Agatha Raisin, #6)Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist by M.C. Beaton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Agatha Raisin's marriage to James Lacy was ended before it began when her husband, whom she thought was dead, turned up.  Fortunately and unfortunately, he turned up dead and Agatha solved the murder.  Now she has headed for Greece where James retreated after the fiasco of a wedding.

While in Greece, a "terrible tourist" is murdered and she and James end up having to solve the murder before Agatha is killed.  All this is typical Agatha and the reader ends up wanting to kill her while hoping she escapes the clutches of the real murder.


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Sunday, September 09, 2012


Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Against all odds, Peeta and Katniss Everdeen have survived the Hunger Games, but now they are perceived as a pair and their popularity and even safety depend on no one knowing the truth.  The bravery and love that Peeta shows Katniss has struck a cord with the people of the country and their safety depends on keeping that impression alive.

At home all is not well.  Both Peeta and Gale seem to be angry at Katniss and it is time for Peeta and Katniss to go on their Victory Tour.  The Capitol feel that the pair have helped to fuel the rebellion stirring in some of the districts and yet they are so popular, their hands seem to be tied.


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Thursday, September 06, 2012


Alchemy and Meggy SwannAlchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars




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The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was excellent.  Young Katniss Everdeen lives in a country called Panem which is surrounded by 12 districts.  The Capitol rules over the districts by requiring that they send two teenagers every year to the Hunger Games in which they compete to the death while the people of the country watch on live TV.  There are people who create the games and are able to create even more difficult challenges at will, pitting the children of one district against other districts and their own partner.

Katniss volunteered when her 12 year old sister was chosen and she was allowed to take her place.  She accepted the challenge as a death sentence, but could not bear to see her sweet and sensitive sister go to her certain death.  It turns out that the survival skills Katniss' father taught her helped her to do much better in the games than she ever believed possible.


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Wednesday, September 05, 2012


The Unseen Guest (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #3)The Unseen Guest by Maryrose Wood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great book for kids and interesting for adults.


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The Romanov Conspiracy: A Thriller"


The Romanov Conspiracy: A ThrillerThe Romanov Conspiracy: A Thriller by Glenn Meade
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a fascinating book about some bones buried outside the place where the Romanovs were brutally killed.  It is a mixture of fact and fiction.  Even though we know the outcome of the DNA tests, the book was still fascinating.


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Monday, September 03, 2012

Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #1)


Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #1)Still Life by Louise Penny
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this book at a time when my life was so busy and complicated, I can't, for the life of me remember what this book was about.  I am writing this review 3 months later and I don't have a clue.

Interestingly, I do remember that I liked it pretty well and would like to read more with the same characters.  The detective was likable and the village charming.  I enjoyed learning more about Quebec and I will probably reread this one before starting the rest of the series.


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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I have read this series so many times, I've stopped putting in the dates.  Usually I listen to the audio tapes when I have some work to do that doesn't use all my senses,  but keeps my attention only partially.  While the story is one I know by heart, I am always amazed as another of the numerous incidence of the series plot is laid down to be harvested in a later book.

In this book we see our three heros as teenagers, and they really are!  I think they are bickering and quarreling through the whole book!  I found it annoying, but so totally accurate for their age that it made me smile.  They are constantly at cross purposes and cross with each other.  In this book, the writing takes a much darker turn and younger kids who enjoyed the first four books may find this one a little too dark and dangerous.

The story starts with Ron and Hermoine knowing about the Order of the Phoenix and Harry being kept in the dark.  The problem is that Voldemort is back and he wants to kill Harry. The Order members know how much danger Harry is in and they want to protect him.  The Ministry of Magic is no help because they are determined to believe that Voldemort is not back despite all the evidence.

Voldemort also wants the prophecy concerning Harry Potter which is held at the Ministry of Magic down a dark corridor.  Harry is getting glimpses of what Voldemort sees as he works his evil.  This is helpful when the snake, Nagini, bites Mr. Weasley and leaves him is dying.  Harry is able to alert Professor Dumbledore and someone is at the Ministery of Magic immediately.  Since Harry is being kept out of a lot of the business of the Order, he is determined to find the prophecy himself.

The best part of this book is Delores Umbridge.  The Ministry of Magic is trying to squelch all rumors that Voldemort has returned and so they install Umbridge as the Defense against the Dark Arts teacher.  The Ministry doesn't believe the children should actually practice defensive spells because there is no need.  They believe that the students should read carefully edited text books about dark arts in the past.  Delores, however, in her fluffy pink everything, is just pure evil.  She's a villan you love to hate.  Every time Harry and crew do something, she has poor old Filch hammer up another decree on the wall.  Eventually, just about everything is banned, but the kids, of course, have found a way around the rules.

(Just a little note, the casting in the movie for the part of Delores Umbridge, I think, was wrong.  It would have been better to cast someone whose character was evil posing as someone who is good rather than the other way around.  Delores doesn't ring true until you have seen the movie a couple of times and have already identified with her as an evil person.)  


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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Death on the Downs


Death on the Downs (Fethering, #2)Death on the Downs by Simon Brett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another adventure from the village of Fethering featuring the odd couple of sleuths, Carol Seddon and her friend, Jude.  Carol stumbles on some bones in a barn while sheltering from a storm.  She has to try to find out who the bones belonged to and, unfortunately, who murdered the victim.  This sets up the amateur detective scenario in which the two friends bumble into the clues and then the solution.

The book is charming because of the characters and environment.  The mystery is just the vehicle to propel us through the charming village of Fethering and the Weldisham Downs.  While the mystery is interesting, the lives of the main characters is what brings me back to these books, that and the probably non-existent village life of the English countryside.





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Sunday, August 26, 2012

The House of Velvet and Glass




The House of Velvet and GlassThe House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was very interesting.  A young woman finds that under certain circumstances, she is able to see the future.  As she begins to work to change some events by interfering, she finds that changing the future has some unexpected and unpleasant consequences.


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Kissing Christmas Goodbye


Kissing Christmas Goodbye (Agatha Raisin, #18)Kissing Christmas Goodbye by M.C. Beaton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was one of the better books in this series.  Agatha Raisin is still irritating as usual and obsessed about James Lacy and the perfect Christmas, but she shows compassion for her young detective, Toni, whom she rescues from and abusive home.  Toni is a wonderful addition to the Agatha Raisin stories and breathes new life into the series.  She is talented and personable...a perfect foil for Agatha.  James is his usual wooden self and Agatha's obsession with him is irritation as usual.  In some ways, I keep coming back to Agatha just like she keeps coming back to him.  She irritates me with her shallowness and grousing, but I find myself looking at the library shelves for the latest in the series.


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Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #2)


The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #2)The Hidden Gallery by Maryrose Wood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book in this wonderful series and the governess, Miss Penelope Lumley, has managed to somewhat tame her young charges and help them deal with the constrictions placed on young children of wealthy and socially prominent parents.  It hasn't been easy though.  For one thing, their mother has absolutely no idea how to raise a child, in fact, she is often more of a child than her children.

As the children come to the city, more and more things don't seem to add up.  There is some connection to them and a mysterious society and it involves a hidden room in the Art Gallery.

There are also some disturbing questions about Miss Lumley's parents and the roll of her mentor and teacher at the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females.  Why is her hair turning the same color as that of the children?  Why does her mentor require her to use a special conditioner for her hair that changes the color and texture.  What has really happened to her parents.


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Thursday, June 07, 2012


Barnaby RudgeBarnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this in a Ravelry book group and we all enjoyed it immensely.  It was set in the time of the Gordon Riots of 1780.  Barnaby is simple minded and lives with his mother.  He gets drawn into the Gordon Riots by bad companions who use him and then abandon him.  As is usual with Dickens, there are several other plots going on at the same time and they eventually connect.  It is just a delightful book and well worth the time it takes to read it.


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Friday, May 04, 2012


Legacy: A NovelLegacy: A Novel by Danielle Steel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I haven't read any of Danielle Steel's books for a very long time, but someone told me that this book was different and it was.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It is a story viewed by characters in the present and past and I like those.  One is a young woman who is working on an advanced degree and living with her boyfriend who is an aspiring archeologist.  Here life is like treading water only there is no shore even being looked for.  Suddenly, the boyfriend leaves to direct a dig and she goes home with virtualy nothing.

While reassising her life at her mother's apartment in the city she agrees to help her mother search for an Indian ancestor who marries a marquis and moves to France.  The genealogy project helps her get her bearings and gives her the strength to change to a life of purpose instead of staying on the same treadmill she has been on.


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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday, March 05, 2012


The House of the Seven GablesThe House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It has been a long time since I read this and it definitely is a book that you don't want to know the ending before you read it.  The suspense adds a lot to the story and helps to counteract the long philosophical passages. I read this in a book group and we all agreed that the house was a character in the book.  It's brooding menace fills the early chapters and you get the feeling that it wants to exact revenge for the crimes done on that spot of earth.


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Saturday, March 03, 2012

Friday, March 02, 2012