I am often suspect of biographies, as authors so often make decisions about people in history that may or may not be truly factual, creating whole new people from real life historical figures. Perhaps they just need to write a book interesting enough to sell and blurring truths and facts becomes part of the package. NOT THIS BOOK!
SISTER QUEENS by Julia Fox manages to be a magnificently interesting book while stating facts and theories from a well researched position. Letters, documents, historical writings and other real remnants from history make up the basis of the book.
Spanish monarchs, Isabelle and Ferdinand's children lives and fortunes are described as part of this chronological factual story about the lives of their two most famous children, Katherine and Juana. Katherine, as the first wife of Henry the 8th, was an accomplished student and politician in her own right. She maneuvered a world much like ours today. Most of us have heard many stories about Henry 8th exploits from his vantage point. This story focuses almost completely from Katherine's vantage point, making this book particularly interesting. We hear about her fight to become, and stay Henry's wife; her fight to maintain her Catholic view to be THE world view; and her fight to maintain that her daughter, Mary, would succeed Henry as his rightful successor to the throne.
Juana, historically known as 'Juana, the Mad', lived most of her life in forced seclusion. Though her four daughters and two sons, and their progeny eventually ruled much of Europe, Juana's life is much a mystery. Julia Fox presented a case for madness , or perhaps accepted seclusion in her determination to secure her children's place in the world without breaking faith with her father, who wrongfully took her place as the Spanish King, wielding much influence in a male dominated hierarchy.
I found this book to be one of the best researched and most interestingly related stories written about this time in history. I highly recommend it to everyone interested in determining truth about this era of history for themselves!
RED KNIFE by William Kent Krueger--
"The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation." (Numbers 14:18)
In Krueger's 8th Cork O'Connor novel, many issues cause much violence a small town in Minnesota. Conflicts between the Ojibwe Indians and the white population bring Cork into the conflict even though he is no longer sheriff. Though Cork has promised his family to stay out of these situations, someone shooting at him and his 7 year old son, brings him into the middle of everything. Different groups amongst the Ojibwe are in conflict, the whites and Ojibwe don't always trust each other, drugs cause death and violence, revenge causes quick deadly violence, and bulling and neglect causes unspeakable tragedy. Can violence really stop further violence?
I continue to find these Cork O'Conner novels more than just entertaining. They are atmospheric, with flawed but honest characters, that also deal with difficult moral and ethical community and personal issues. Love it when a book is good reading, but also makes me think! I listened to this on Audible and really enjoyed the narrator.
This blockbuster book was a huge disappointment for me. I think this will be a book where the movie outshines the original. It seemed like about twice as much book than was necessary to me. Yes, the were interesting descriptions and many twists and turns, but so often I wanted to yell-"I get it, I get it! Get on with it already!". I didn't count, but there must have been more than a dozen phrases just to describe male masturbation alone.
I listened to it on Audible and it definitely came across as he bitched then she bitched---two selfish, self-centered people who were unhappy and resentful about everything and everyone. I just couldn't feel any sympathy or empathy for anyone in this story. The thrill of marital abuse turned against one another just lost it's charm very soon.
The fact that the author drew situations and people from the hyped media news was cleaver for a while, but that became as annoying as hearing the same news story over, and over, and over all the time in the actual media. Enough said---it just did not entertain me for 432 pages worth of annoyance just to get to the point of this story of planned selfishness and hatred spread nicely around for everyone to share. The "twist" I'd been expecting was a big disappointment too. Guess I just don't march to the same drumbeat as the fans of this book!!
Cork O'Conner has just retired as Sherif of Aurora, Minnesota to spend more time with his family. Daughter, Jenny, actually does seem to need more attention as she has decisions to make now that she's graduated from high school. But Cork's good friend, Henry Meloux, the Ojibwe medicine man, asks Cork to help him fine his son whom he's never seen. Cork never knew that he had a son, and that son is now 73 years old, so he wonders at the sudden need to find him. This story goes from present day, to the 1920's to tell Henry's story, back to the present again. When someone tries to kill Henry today, the mystery grows.
I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of these Cork O'Conner western mysteries. The inner connection between all the peoples in that area have added much to these mysteries. Cork is such a complex character as sherif, family man, park Ojibwe and part white, and outdoorsman. Kruger's writing is spectacular, setting scenery that sets me right there in my immagination. I listened to this on Audible and highly recommend it.
This is the second Allies McMurphy fudge shop and McMurphy Hotel mystery? The setting of Mackinaw Island adds a lot to these mysteries along with the numerous scrumptious fudge recipes. In this book, the pup, Mal, finds some unwanted bones in mulch around the island, while Allie gets involved in a "scripted" cooking show so reminiscent of many shown on TV these days. The body count grows but the "why" and "who" is difficult to figure out, Allie keeps charging forth with her little pup, Mal, as her defender.
This is a fun series. I love the descriptions of Island events, Mal's antics, and Allie's two suitors. The mystery was interesting but difficult to actually figure out by following the story. Not as good as book one, but definitely good enough to anticipate reading further in this series! I listened to the book on audio and enjoyed the narration.
Inspector Gamache has retired and is living a quiet life in Three Pines with his wife, but his soul is still pondering all that has happened to him recently. While daily reading about the "sin sick soul" from a book his father had been reading the last time Gamache saw him, Clara gets him to go on a searching expedition to find her husband, Peter, who should have returned home after a year's planned separation. A small group from Three Pines follows these two around all the places that Peter has reportedly been traveling. While doing so, they ponder life's meaning, art, and the mythical "tenth muse".
Louise Penny's writing is always beautiful, as she can describe things and turn a phrase as few others can do. I have truly loved her past books, but this one definitely left me wanting in the subject matter area. There was much too much philosophizing about art and artists. I can see how this would intrigue Penny, as she is a true literary artist, but it was too much to really be enjoyable for me. There was very little action until the last couple chapters in the book.
Had I not been listening to the Audible version of this book--which was expertly done--I might have only given this book three stars. Having said that, the previous books in this series were so wonderful, that I'll give this book a pass and look forward to the next adventures of Inspector Gamache and all the other quirky characters from Three Pines.
"Vengeance is mine, I will repay, sayeth The Lord." (Romans 12:19). In 1967, in the small town of Center Springs, Texas, events are going to take place that will put this promise to the ultimate test. Tony Agrioli and his girlfriend, have just moved into town after having met Center Springs' Constable Cody Parker and his new wife while they were on their honeymoon in Las Vegas. Tony wants to live a simple peaceful life, but we don't always get what we wish for when our past follows us.
Usually a rather peaceful town, where everybody knows everybody else's business, Constables Cody and Ned Parker find themselves up against a crooked and racist Sheriff who is steeped in evil. There's been a murder and a robbery, but the Sheriff seems to have his own agenda. The Parker teens, Top and his cousin, Pepper's curiosity gets them into the center of trouble yet again, as a number of strangers come into town bringing intrigue and tragedy with them.
Once again, Wortham has created a tale of old fashion humor and violence, steeped with references to past times that thrills the senses. There's murder, bank robberies, mobsters, counterfeit money, and deadly secrets that move this story like a huge roller coaster ride. This book can be enjoyed by itself, but I definitely recommend first being introduced to the tall tales from the first three books in this series. Cops and robbers with quirky characters, a bit of foreboding dreams, and real heroes raise the story above the average mystery.
On Michigan's boarder with Canada, Jaymie Leighton is enjoying her vintage cottage on Heartbreak Island. She definitely needed a break from her mom, whom she loves but drives her batty at times. She's trying to write her first article to start her blog on vintage tools, and old updated food recipes. She's chosen to write about her friends old Ice House that's been turned into a restaurant. But when a vintage ice pick turns up in the body of a local man, found in Jaymie's yard, some arguments and abuses seem to point to a number of Jaymie's friends, and she starts sleuthing again.
Confusing all her efforts are the squabbles between Jaymie's mom and her new rich boyfriend's mom over the annual family dinner that Jaymie's parents have always celebrated at their cottage. Redoing a drainage system has left a mess in their yard so why not have it at the lovely cottage of the boyfriend's parents. Trying to compromise between the mom's is becoming as difficult as finding who left a body in her yard. Then add in the cute detective on the case, and Jaymie has lots more to handle than her growing vintage kitchen tools collection.
This third book in the vintage kitchen series, is definitely the best one yet, or maybe it's just that the characters in these books are growing close to my heart. I enjoy the discussion of the connection between this part of Michigan and Canada, and the shared holidays. Personalities and problems seem very realistic, and I find myself rooting more and more for Jaymie and one particular man. The mysteries are always solid and developed with good clues. I listened to this on Audible and really liked the narration.
There's a new cop in the English city of Hull. No sooner does he start his job than he views a 15 year old Somalian adopted girl being slash down in their central church. He has even seen the hooded slasher. But is he a serial killer? Seems that survivors of fatal incidents are being murdered. Thus starts this gruesome murder mystery with a unique plot for a murderer.
Perhaps some of the best parts are the development of the characters. Aector McAvoy is definitely an experienced cop, and rumors abound about his past with a dirty cop and a paid killer. Now he's supposed to be relegated to computer work because of his unique talents in finding information from a desk. His female supervisor tries to untangle his skills through his quiet personality. Aector is profoundly in love with his beautiful wife and young son. Through all this is the description of a dank and wet city of Hull.
This was a great start for a continuing mystery series. Aector is not reminiscent of any policeman that I've previously read about. I also appreciated the twisted motive that was also unique to this story. Definitely will read more from this author. Listened to this on Audible and really appreciated the dramatic affect, especially Aector's Scottish accent amongst the English.
In Denmark's police, Department Q deals with cold cases. Detective Carl Morck is relegated to cold cases after a tragedy ended a case that he had been working on. Now he reluctantly finds himself dragged into a fourth case with his unusual mysterious assistants, Assad and Rose. While investigating the disappearance of a brothel owner, Rita, they discover that five people disappeared that same day and were never found these twenty odd years later.
This case goes back and forth between 1987 and today. The Purity Party has been growing secretly through time, with the goal of aborting and sterilizing , illegally if necessary, all those dreamed inferior--those of any ethnic background other than Caucasian, those of inferior minds, and those who are poor and a drain on the system. Since childhood when her mom died, Nete Hermansen, has had abuse and further abuse helped upon her. Though she had a period where she fooled the world, that changed suddenly one day, by her own hand. Then she planned an elaborate revenge on everyone who wronged her.
These Department Q books are full of sinister behavior and down right evil, but Adler used Assad and Rose as great comic relief within his books. Carl gets pulled and drawn into these cases almost against his will, but then he goes full 'life threatening' force into the investigations. These things really draw the reader into these remarkable mysteries. I suggest starting at the beginning of this series to get the full effect of the recurring characters. I listened to this on Audible and found it added a great deal to my enjoyment if this story.
This is the story of four women who are searching for changes and love. Lavender is an organic farmer specializing in honey and lavender products. She's looking to find someone to take over her farm after she dies. As a member of the blogging "Foodie Four", she invites these friends to her farm to celebrate her 85th birthday, in hopes of finding that someone. These women range from the young, pregnant, and unmarried ,Ruby, to the unhappy photographing middle-aged wife, Ginny, to Val, who was a prima ballerina and has just lost her husband and all but one teen-aged daughter to a deadly crash. As these women gather and plan Lavender's birthday celebration, they grow closer in their friendships and find some meaningful relationships with a couple of men.
This was an interesting story of woman overcoming their difficulties and taking control of their lives. The information about the growing of lavender and extracting the oil for different uses, plus the different types of lavender, was especially interesting to me. In general, this book was very reminiscent of many other similar type woman's' stories. I listened to this on audio and thought it was done expertly.
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